Could virtual worlds be used to provide therapy to those who lack access to a real-world practitioner?
That's the premise of a recent article outlining the multiple ways virtual worlds could provide essential mental health services to more patients than ever before. But what about the possible caveats of virtual head-games?
Pixels and Policy takes a look at the compelling academic studies of just how effective virtual world psychotherapy really is.
Continue reading Study Shows Virtual Therapy Outperforms Real-World Shrinks
Tel Aviv University's tactile sensor
Virtual worlds may help educate impoverished children, and they might even be bringing a new wave of commerce to the world. But can virtual worlds change individual lives?
According to some research published in the venerable Science Daily, they just might.
You see, some enterprising Israeli researchers are developing the most innovative assistance for the blind since Braille.
Pixels and Policy investigates how virtual worlds are giving eyes to the blind, and why you can run the program on your old Apple II.
Continue reading Medical Update: Researchers Use Audible Virtual Worlds To Give Sight to the Blind
One 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
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?
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
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
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
We recently wrote that developers were fighting a failing battle by trying to restrict secondary virtual goods markets through tools such as account banning and eliminating in-game trade.
Now an article published by the CIOL Network seems to agree: Fighting the market in in-game goods will not only ruin the experience for honest players, it won't work.
Pixels and Policy takes a look at what CIOL recommends, and whether or not their recommendation could soon come true.
Continue reading Developers Should Open Virtual Goods Markets
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
The California Gold Rush of 1849 flooded the West with prospectors chasing dazzling riches.
It also created a boom market for general stores, taverns, brothels, and government where previously there had been only desert.
If the current boom in the profitability of virtual worlds is any indication, we may be seeing a Gold Rush for by 21st Century standards.
Pixels and Policy investigates how virtual goods dealers are growing rich supplying busy gamers with the rarest in-world items and weapons, and why this stands to change the future of gaming and commerce.
Continue reading How Can Developers Combat Secondary Loot Markets?