Increasingly consumers are “living” online in social networks, online communities, and virtual worlds. We exist on the web as either A) accurate representations of ourselves (i.e. posting resumes on LinkedIn or picking a hair and eye color for our avatar that matches our own) or B) as the fantastical personas of our dreams (i.e. the one with purple hair, super powers and being 5 or 10 lbs lighter than we are in real life). The appeal? Making connections, and having fun while doing it.
Virtual Worlds Management, a virtual worlds trade media company, just announced this week the findings of its latest investment research. Apparently VC and media firms have invested more than $161 million dollars in 16 virtual worlds-related companies during the second quarter of 2008. Add that to the $184 million dollars invested in 23 virtual worlds in Q1, and that makes a total of $345 million invested in the first 6 months of this year.
My own personal challenge is managing to find the time to dig into all of the virtual worlds (and social networks, for that matter) that I’d like to. The selection can be overwhelming. By the looks of it, though, the virtual worlds business will continue to boom (at least over the next year or so), so we’ll all just have to pick and choose where to login wisely. Just a few of the worlds/ networks I’d like to check out this summer are WeeWorld, Google’s Lively, Gaia Online, and SanrioTown. Where do you “live” online?