Update: Wal Mart’s “Virtual Clothing Store” Hopes to Redefine E-Retail

Back in September 2009, Pixels
and Policy reported on how designer Norma Kamali planned to introduce
her line of Wal Mart clothing exclusively through virtual worlds.
Prospective customers could create an avatar with their measurements
and quickly flip through an entire collection of clothing as if they
were in the infamous retailer's fluorescent halls.

Today we take a look at how Wal
Mart's virtual clothing stores reinforce another argument we've made in
the past — that advertisers are getting smarter about how they market
products in the virtual world.

Continue reading Update: Wal Mart’s “Virtual Clothing Store” Hopes to Redefine E-Retail

Hiro Pendragon on the Shifting Focus of Virtual World Platforms

Today's post is a great read from Hiro Pendragon (Ron Blechner), former CTO of Involve, Inc. and a long-time writer and analyst of business and professional trends in virtual worlds. Hiro recently sat as a guest for a Second Life panel discussion about PBS's "Digital Nation" documentary.

This year will see increasing corporate and academic use of
virtual worlds for private, individual ventures. Marketing efforts in virtual
worlds are pretty much frozen solid, but will thaw a little proportionate to
the recovery of the economy.

Second Life will continue to be the industry
leader for interactive virtual worlds, while opensim-based and Second Life
spinoff worlds will enjoy success for ones that stay cheap or that cater to a
specific niche. But first, let's rewind to 2009.

Continue reading Hiro Pendragon on the Shifting Focus of Virtual World Platforms

Are Virtual Worlds Turning Pre-Teens into Informed Consumers?

One of the best indicators of virtual worlds' long-term commercial sustainability is the ability of a world to turn users into active consumers. Radio did this by monetizing broadcasts through advertisements. Television does much the same through product placement and celebrity endorsement. But these are both decidedly passive forms of marketing.

Some interesting new research from the marketing website Mad.uk sheds light on just how effectively virtual worlds are transmogrifying entertainment-seekers into potential customers. Pixels and Policy takes a look at how pre-teens in virtual worlds are slowly headed towards consumer consciousness.

Continue reading Are Virtual Worlds Turning Pre-Teens into Informed Consumers?

Why So Many Organizations Struggle for Success in Virtual Worlds

Palomar_002-712712One of the most interesting and
controversial discussions currently taking place amongst the virtual
world cognoscenti is also one of the most vexing for the companies and
government agencies hoping to capitalize on the growing communication
power of virtual worlds.

Despite the best efforts of
developers like Cisco, the Department of Energy and a mix of other
public and private organizations, many more corporate/government Second
Life installations fail than survive and thrive.

Pixels and Policy takes a look at why.

Continue reading Why So Many Organizations Struggle for Success in Virtual Worlds

LudoCraft Pilots Virtual World Aimed at Virtual Conventions

You may not have heard of LudoCraft, a small games designer responsible for the realXtend engine, but it wants to get to know you. In fact, it wants you to throw your next industry convention or cultural expo in its open-source virtual world.

Pixels and Policy takes a look at how one company is banking on an increase in virtual business conferencing in 2010.

Continue reading LudoCraft Pilots Virtual World Aimed at Virtual Conventions

Companies Consider Virtual Employee Standards of Conduct

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Scantily-clad waitresses may move burgers and wings at Hooters, but companies like IBM are less than pleased to find employees involved in virtual worlds dressing in bondage gear and digital phalluses.

A recent press release from industry research firm Gartner, Inc. sheds some light on the obvious reasons why big business might not want its employees' virtual representations dancing around in a Department of Energy-themed ballgag:

As the use of virtual environments for business purposes grows, enterprises need to understand how employees are using avatars in ways that might affect the enterprise or the enterprise’s reputation

We covered the possible professional conflicts of real-world workers indulging in virtual fantasy last week. In light of the Gartner report, this controversial issue deserves a closer look.

Continue reading Companies Consider Virtual Employee Standards of Conduct

Virtual World Growth is Slowing Down. That’s Not a Bad Thing.

Gold Like most creations in the fast-growing tech industry, virtual worlds have enjoyed stellar growth and profitability figures over the past few years. Some virtual economies have even doubled in size year-over-year, feeding hype that virtual technology may soon replace many aspects of our lives.

But as one magazine reports, profitability is slowing and growth figures are relaxing. Should this lead to disillusionment about virtual worlds?

Of course not – as Pixels and Policy reports, virtual worlds are just moving into the next phase of a successful transformation from techie novelty to everyday reality.

Continue reading Virtual World Growth is Slowing Down. That’s Not a Bad Thing.

Do Virtual Worlds Offer Employment Hope for Africa’s Young Working Class?

A few months ago we reported on how East Africa's first reliable broadband Internet connection could revolutionize the employment landscape by allowing seamless virtual workspaces and long-distance employment.

Now popular newspaper Business Daily Africa reports on the benefits virtual worlds are bringing to the pan-African scene, and guess what – they include the myriad benefits virtual workplaces provide to a growing underemployed youth population!

Pixels and Policy takes a closer look.

Continue reading Do Virtual Worlds Offer Employment Hope for Africa’s Young Working Class?

Investment in the Virtual Goods Market Triples in Size Over 2008 Figures

We kicked off 2010 with our report on how the virtual goods market – the virtual farm seeds and dragon-slaying armor you buy with real currency – could hit $5 billion in just under five years. But how has the virtual goods market grown over the past year, and is it an indicator of future trends?

Pixels and Policy takes a look at how the market for swords, armor and Farmville equipment exploded over 2008 and 2009, and why 2010 looks great for the continued expansion of virtual commerce.

Continue reading Investment in the Virtual Goods Market Triples in Size Over 2008 Figures

Guinness Markets Beer Through Create-Your-Own Virtual Worlds

Guinness Another innovative company is about to draw on the high-return potential of the virtual world: Famed brewing company Guinness bets it can sell you beer by engaging you in a virtual environment.

Guinness will be pioneering a fully integrated virtual worlds approach that draws on several open source and social networking tools. It looks like a winner.

Read on to find out what Guinness is brewing, and whether it'll satisfy virtual world veterans.

Continue reading Guinness Markets Beer Through Create-Your-Own Virtual Worlds