Virtual World Makes Real Money

February 24, 2007 11:52 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
With more businesses making money in the virtual reality world of Second Life, many say it’s the next generation of Internet commerce.

30 Second Summary

According to computer industry leaders, online virtual realities like Second Life are the next big step in the Internet's development.

Second Life is a 3-D world modeled on real life, allowing users to maneuver self-designed characters (called avatars) through virtual landscapes. Much of this computerized world functions with all the complexity of living, breathing reality, with users trading a virtual currency (called the linden) for virtual goods such as apartments and clothing.

But lindens have more than just a virtual value: hundreds of money-changing sites, allowing users to buy the virtual currency with real money, have sprung up all over the Web. This means that lindens now function similarly to foreign currency, and every online exchange involving this virtual money now has real-life monetary value.

The growth of Second Life's economy has businesses, politicians, and institutions racing to establish their virtual presence.

IBM, Coca-Cola, and Nissan have all set up shop in Second Life, and the Reuters news agency now has a Second Life bureau. A Democratic congressman from California recently held a press conference there, and even Harvard Law School offers a class that is taught exclusively within the virtual world.

Headline: The business of Second Life

Background: Second Life's world

Reactions: News services enter Second Life

Major news agencies like Reuters are now setting up bureaus in Second Life, investigating and reporting on the role-playing realm’s emergent culture. Reuters is the first established new agency to assign a full-time reporter to a virtual world.

Reference: Linden Lab

Related Topics: Second Life impropriety, politics and education


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