China Struggles to Evolve in the Age of Online Gaming

Worldofwarcraft_chinaChina is an interesting case, a society where strict cultural censorship gives way to a vibrant community of online gamers. But this online freedom only exists up to a point, as both Google and World of Warcraft can attest.

China's educated middle and upper classes are voracious online gamers, and many are unhappy with several proposed changes to the popular Chinese online game "Legend." This caps off a tumultuous few months for a Chinese government struggling to come to terms with the emergence of virtual worlds.

Let's take a look at why some Chinese gamers are staging virtual world protests, and why the Chinese government is moving to shut down offending servers in a bid to control the potential threat of unchained protest.

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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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Video: Your Thoughts On Our Appearance on Tonight Live with Paisley Beebe

Pixels and Policy would like to thank Paisley Beebe and everyone involved in the production of Tonight Live for the great interview we had on Sunday, February 28th. Paisley asked some great questions about the evolution of virtual currency and its importance to the real-world economy, and we even got a chance to give due credit to the virtual currency work of Jon Matonis over at The Monetary Future.

Below you'll find the recording of the show, courtesy of Treet.tv. Would love to hear your thoughts, and we'll be putting up some further analysis a little later in the week! Thanks to everyone who came out to see us and for all the great commentary we've received via e-mail and Twitter!

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.

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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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2009 in Review: How Microtransactions and User-Created Virtual Markets Reshaped Business

Zynga_0 As we close out a rocky, recession-plagued 2009, many of the real-world companies we thought indestructible last January are no longer with us. But in the virtual world, business is booming.

Pixels and Policy takes a look back at one of the biggest developments of 2009 – how a few small social gaming houses became industry titans by harnessing the power of microtransactions.

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Dancing Ink Productions and the Evolution of Creative Commerce

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Rita J. King of Dancing Ink Productions

Second Life is an environment of unusual creativity and self
expression. But the ability for limitless content creation alone is
not the reason for the boom in Second Life’s creative class.

A trip to 
Dancing Ink Productions' "The Imagination Age" island revealed that, for many Second Life residents, the
true beauty of art comes when it merges with purpose in engaging and
often unexpected ways.

Pixels and Policy looks at the skillful
blending of work and art at The Imagination Age, and opted to explore
the trend further.

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Second Life Enterprise Provides Huge Step Forward for Virtual Business

Secondlife_logo_qjpreviewth Linden Lab took a huge step forward in the growing market for virtual collaboration and business telecommuting with its announcement that companies could now purchase business-grade Second Life software.

Organizations as far-flung as IBM and the Navy are in on the new software, which also has an upscaled security and authentication process and the ability to protect sensitive company information, launches Linden Lab into all new forms of virtual interaction.

Pixels and Policy investigates what Second Life Enterprise means for the virtual business industry.

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Touring the Corporate Graveyards of Second Life

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     Cisco's virtual hospital is a spooky wasteland.

In the spirit of Halloween, we thought it would be interesting to take a look at some of the corporate ghost towns scattered across the fickle landscape of Second Life.

InfoWorld did a great write-up on the history of corporate failure in the Metaverse, and one thing is certain: Large or small, tech or apparel, Second Life has swallowed up some of the best companies the real-world has to offer.

Pixels and Policy takes a look at why so many companies are failing in the Metaverse, and why the U.S. government is the newest body in the graveyard of corporate hopes.

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New York Times Report on Virtual Worlds Totally Misses the Point

Chainedpromo Ruth La Ferla of the New York Times published an extensive write-up yesterday all about how virtual fashion is surviving and thriving in the recession, clocking in at over 1,400 words.

It's a real shame that La Ferla failed to cover any real news in her story. At least she succeeded in inflating the estimated earnings of virtual worlds from the currently-accepted $1 billion mark to a totally unscientific, Bear-Stearns-in-the-sky estimate of $2 billion.

Pixels and Policy explains why La Ferla's article does nothing to advance the cause of virtual worlds, and quite a bit to hold it back.

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