Christian Renaud's keynote this morning was generally received as an outstanding analysis of the Virtual World industry and the challenges that lie ahead of us if we want it to go mainstream.
In order to get this right for the Virtual World industry, several thoughtleaders met the day prior to the VW Conference, amongst which Cisco, IBM, Linden Lab and Philips. Linden Lab and IBM put forth a press release stating they are working on interoperability and portability. Other terms to describe this are unified communications between Virtual Worlds, or setting new industry standards (is it going to be VHS or Betamax?). IBM has made no secret of the fact that they have been pursuing this for months, the only speculation and blogosphere fuzz at the moment is that it's now an official tie-in with Linden Lab.
So the market needs convergence, standards of portability to go mainstream. I personally feel this is a very, very good thing. In fact, I've been saying so for months. The real big challenges are:
No consensus yet
In the beginning I said Christian's keynote was generally accepted as outstanding. Here's a few thoughts from the business
While talking to Craig Sherman on this he let me know that Gaia is pursuing its own target group and has no intention whatsoever to even start thinking about portability. pretty much the same goes for Habbo Hotel, as Timo Soininen doesn't see much chances to asses the value of goods for portability.
John K. Bates of Entropia / Mindark noted that value is generally based on user demand for goods and in a lot of instances World-specific. Like in Entropia you've got dung. Absolutely of no value if you return it to the Entropia caretakers, but a must have for landowners who need dung to fertilize their lands so they can grow monsters and tax those who come to their land to hunt monsters. So in entropia you might wanna be a dung-baron if you don't want to pay for stuff and still get rich.
What kind of Virtual goods do we have out there? There's
Here's some on the worlds represented in the panel:
GAIA- an online hangout for teens:
As for branded content Gaia especially added cars to the platform for Toyota Scion. Then they created body shops to customize the cars, then created hang out places like car parks for teens to meet and hang out with their rides.
SULAKE / HABBO HOTEL
The virtual worlds represented here get about 60 to 85% of their revenues from the sales of virtual goods.
Selling virtual goods and using it as a business model is pretty much about making purchases as easy as possible. Stimulate impuls buying without the hassle of having to get some money somewhere first.