Is the Metaverse Falling Victim to Large Platform Monopolies?

6a0120a51c39be970b0120a597d2b4970b-800wi There's no denying it – despite a worldwide consumer recession and spiking unemployment, virtual worlds are still growing with impressive speed.

A report by the Virtual Goods Summit shows that purchases of virtual clothing, weapons, and accessories will top $1 billion for the first time, and will nearly double to $1.6 billion by 2010.

There's only one thing missing: competition..

Continue reading Is the Metaverse Falling Victim to Large Platform Monopolies?

Thinking Virtually: Helping Companies Succeed in Marketing to the Metaverse

 

From Audi
digitally marketing their new electric car
to a slew of virtual
reality themed Hollywood blockbusters
, focusing on virtual worlds as a
potential revenue source is all the rage. But as companies have repeatedly shown by high-publicity failures, marketing in the virtual world is a tricky proposition.

Pixels and Policy looks at how to effectively market products to eager eyes in the Metaverse.

Continue reading Thinking Virtually: Helping Companies Succeed in Marketing to the Metaverse

Is Brazil Set to Become a Virtual World Superpower?

Brazilflagshirt China and the United States have shared dominance of the
virtual world market for years on the backs of games like Lineage and World of
Warcraft, but a new entrant may be on the horizon.
 

According
to a study by Deloitte,

rapidly industrializing Brazil is prepared to sate
its citizens’ craving for virtual worlds by expanding its commercial Metaverse
presence. Wired Brazilians are prepared to build virtual worlds that appeal to
the Latin American community.

Who’s ready for some creative destruction? 

Continue reading Is Brazil Set to Become a Virtual World Superpower?

Trademarking Avatars and the Future of Virtual Ownership

Aimee_weber_tm_bling

               
Aimee Weber (TM)

Back in late October I wrote about how how Second Life content creator Aimee Weber sought to have her avatar's name made into a registered trademark. Well, all legal hurdles were cleared and a bit of virtual world history made in the process. 

 

This is a natural progression of any technology that allows individuals to make profit. Many virtual worlds journalists have been predicting an "avatar singularity" – where the user creates and owns a single avatar for use in virtual worlds as far afield as Blue Mars and Everquest.

Continue reading Trademarking Avatars and the Future of Virtual Ownership

Virtual Worlds are Reshaping How Indians and Pakistanis Think, Act and Socialize

Taj-mahal-3d-screenshot-1_reference You may not be familiar with The Hindu, India's national newspaper. I recommend it to anyone who wants to read some insightful work from an up-and-coming world power.

A fascinating article by The Hindu's reporters looks at how the technology powering virtual worlds is evolving, and how the way people communicate is evolving with it.

Pixels and Policy takes a look at why India has such an interest in virtual communication, and what their research tells us about the importance of the Metaverse across cultures.

Continue reading Virtual Worlds are Reshaping How Indians and Pakistanis Think, Act and Socialize

Why Do People Pay Real Cash for Virtual Items?

N509105731_346828_8816

Here's a question many researchers have stumbled over at one point or another in their careers as pioneering virtual world analysts: Why do people pay real money for virtual items?

Pixels and Policy takes a look.

Digital Growth, Real Revenue

The virtual economy is certainly more than an aberration, and with Second Life bringing in nearly $500 million a year in virtual sales alone, the virtual economy may even be doing better than the real economy!

A new report published in the Virtual Economy Research Network argues that Second Life and other virtual worlds have such healthy real-to-virtual economies because of one main factor: social pressure.

Continue reading Why Do People Pay Real Cash for Virtual Items?

Companies Consider Virtual Employee Standards of Conduct

1
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

Onverse Challenges Old Impressions of the Metaverse

Square With all the virtual platforms coming online lately, is
there anything new under the sun? Do we really need more virtual dance clubs?  

The next big virtual world will scale Second Life Mountain
not on the strength of its dance clubs, but based on interactivity and social
networking. One game in particular mixes these strengths well.
 

Pixels and Policy guest-blogger Bruce Lehmann investigates Onverse,
a new online world now in Beta, and asks the question: What are players looking
for in a new world?
 

Continue reading Onverse Challenges Old Impressions of the Metaverse

Free-to-Play Developers Drive Boom in Virtual Commerce

According to the industry news source GamesBeat – an offshoot of VentureBeat – cash transactions for virtual goods are booming, with pay-to-play MMORPG's like World of Warcraft surprisingly knocked out of first place by a surprise challenger.

Pixels and Policy explores the stats behind the claim, and why the biggest commercial growth isn't in the big-name worlds you might imagine.

Continue reading Free-to-Play Developers Drive Boom in Virtual Commerce

Is the Linden Dollar a Ticking Time Bomb?

Graph-price

Pixels and Policy reader and virtual world enthusiast Doubledown Tandino left a thought-provoking comment on our article about the lack of competition in the virtual world. Tandino made the argument that attaching a dollar value to Linden Dollars is really a work of fiction:

Linden Lab…says [the exchange rate] is $260L to
$1 USD every day…so it is. and the world believes it. It is fortunate
that the bubble hasn't burst on the fictitious economy.


It's an intriguing argument, so Pixels and Policy decided to take a look at the confidence behind the currency. Is Second Life's economy just irrational exuberance?

Continue reading Is the Linden Dollar a Ticking Time Bomb?