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..

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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.

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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.

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Politicians Stump for Elusive Virtual Votes

Secondlife-obamaBarack Obama spent nearly $800 million pursuing the White
House in 2008
. Over half of that was media spending:
Television, direct mail, rallies, and internet infrastructure, including a virtual Second Life headquarters.

Compared to his expansive broadcast media strategy, Obama's foray into virtual worlds hardly ranks.

Yet the campaign's tiny investment in a corner of the Metaverse will make a big difference in 2012, when politicians begin to integrate virtual worlds into official campaign strategy.

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Army Veteran Builds Virtual Support Center for Army Families

Army-second-life You'd think after three successful decades working with the military, Jaque Davison would welcome retirement.

You'd think years watching the human cost of a professional Army would make anyone welcome a break.

As Pixels and Policy reports, Jaque Davison didn't retire from the Army to sit around. He built a virtual world to provide much-needed support to the families of men and women sent overseas.

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Australian Film College Announces Advanced Degree in Virtual Worlds

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Students at Australia's Film Radio and Television school are about to join a growing international collective of schools that want to see students competitive in the Metaverse.

The alma mater of some of Australia's best-known filmmakers is offering a Graduate Certificate in Video Games and Virtual Worlds starting next year.

Pixels and Policy takes a look.

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The U.S. Army Embarks on Virtual Worlds for Amputees

Avess_02_small Yesterday we discussed how virtual worlds are expanding our perceptions of body modification and increasing understanding about injuries that result in amputation.

Mental perceptions may be evolving, but what about ensuring access to virtual worlds for those with disabilities?

Pixels and Policy looks at the growing trend in developing an amputee-friendly Metaverse, and the role new "accessible worlds" will play in improving the lives of amputees.

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Are Real-World Companies Finally Investing in Comprehensive Virtual Marketing Plans?

Sun-wonderland Just when it seemed like companies were content to ram their heads against the seemingly impenetrable wall of marketing to a virtual audience, a few key movers started shifting strategies.

As a recent article on the "innovation economy" shows, companies are starting to learn from their mistakes and seem ready to make the big thinking shifts necessary to keep a persistent presence in the virtual world.

Pixels and Policy takes a look at what prompted the paradigm shift, and why this could mean boom times for both companies and gamers.

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Should Second Life Reduce Land Fees to Encourage Growth?

2424380718_699d8d6fc8 If recent information surrounding the land leasing rates of Blue Mars is accurate, Second Life may have a real competition on its hands.

That's because the Blue Mars land leasing system is rumored to be not only simpler to use, but cheaper than the Second Life tier system.

Starved for competition for so long, Second Life might not be able to compete with an upstart new virtual world unless it re-evaluates its business model and gets back into fighting shape.

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Players May Soon Use One Avatar for Multiple Worlds

Persistant_avatars

One of the major impediments to
widespread use of virtual worlds is standardization. I like to think of
the hundreds of virtual worlds out there as early Italy – a dozen
little empires going about their business more or less independently.

What the virtual world needs is unification, one avatar to rule them all.

As several sources have
been reporting, the desire for one unified avatar is growing, and
worlds interested in capturing e-commerce may find they have no choice.
The age of the persistent avatar may be closer than we think.

Continue reading Players May Soon Use One Avatar for Multiple Worlds