While the rest of the world was caught up with Google Buzz, Apple was quietly granted a patent for a virtual reality App Store. The store patent encompasses details such as seasonal and time-based lighting, color schemes and a basic storefront representation. A few bloggers have already criticized the patent as a relic from SecondLife past, the store may have more use when we consider it in the context of the XBox Live marketplace.

According to Patently Apple, the patent is one of several awarded to Apple today. First filed by David Koski in 2006, the abstract explains that a storefront representation is deployed, a store visitor is acknowledged and subsequent visitor shopping cart activity is shared with others.

Rather than thinking about this in the context of Second Life, it may be more appropriate to look at the XBox's emergence in the home entertainment space. Although primarily highlighted for its gaming features, XBox Live offers integration with Last.fm and Netflix, as well as social sites like Facebook and Twitter. Each user creates their own avatar and profile and then shops for games and videos within the XBox Live marketplace. Apple's attempt to move into this space may have interesting implications.

Someone who plays exercise-related games might receive a recommendation for a diet cookbook, a workout soundtrack, a yoga video, a calorie counting app and several portable devices to help you manage your routine. As well, the group shopping experiences may allow for virtual fitness groups, book clubs and even discounted group buying experiences. When we consider the time spent per user in games, this could be a lucrative business. While Koski may have simply filed the patent to receive his company patent bonus, there's also the chance that Apple is preparing for a more immersive future in entertainment.