Susan is an associate at Charles River Ventures, blogs and has heard funding pitches in a virtual world (part of the Edelman business planning comp in Second Life). She has a keen interest in the MMOG space and her recent post on Second Life is right on the mark…
She finds that SL doesn’t grab her emotionally, has high technical barriers to participation and is a walled garden using closed standards and stifling mass adoption. In short, while they are currently on the edge, they have not truly adopted Web 2.0 principles.
I totally agree with her that we are at the “tip of the iceberg” and that’s why I’m investing a chunk of time into the space.
This bit from her is worth quoting verbatim:
One day, there will be an open standards based platform that makes virtual asset/world creation as easy as choosing templates and widgets for your MySpace page. In fact, today’s social networking services like MySpace and Flickr already incorporate some smart game design principles, such as levelling up, collecting virtual objects, and homesteading in the form of customization. I expect that virtual items will one day become a far more legitimate asset class and that there will be much improved liquidity for these assets in the future. It sounds absurd, but there are some basic economic reasons why this concept of real money trade (RMT) makes sense, despite all of the negativity that RMT receives from the core gaming community:
1) Virtual goods can confer real economic utility,
2) It can be much cheaper to buy virtual goods than procuring them via more traditional methods – such as actually spending the requisite time necessary in-game or in-world,
3) Virtual goods can generate attractive investment returns.
Way to go Susan. That day may be nearer than you think.