Virtual Worlds provide green shoots of recovery?

There has been a lot of speculation about the “green shoots of recovery” in the press around business and finance and how the world is going to pick itself up and move on. In all of this of course it highlights how money itself and valuation of assets, skills, resources is all really non existent, dare I say virtual? As the saying goes “something is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it”.
In dealing with many people who do not yet understand the “value” of “virtual” interaction it is unfortunate that a world economic collapse occurred by some of those same people to highly “valuing” things that did not really exist.
On a positive note though, as reported on Virtual World News another report, by Strategy Analytics has come out showing that many of the green shoots of recovery may be generated by the virtual worlds.
Cress Head
The main growth area indicated is the kids market. That makes sense in that they are not encumbered with thinking any of this stuff is cool or different, it just is what it is to them. Clearly that has the evolutionary drive through that as the 5-9 year olds grow up then these ways of communicating become natural and expected for them.
In addition as Virtual World news reports
“microtransactions expected to grow from slightly over $1 billion in 2008 to $17.3 billion in 2015. Microtransactions will account for approximately 86 percent of all revenue generated by virtual worlds.”
Now the is a mere drop in the ocean compared to the various bank bail outs. However microtransactions clearly make sense in the way people start to spend again. Recession is not a time for most people to make large capital expenditures, yet human behaviour is goal and reward driven. People need to give themselves little treats. (One reason that the chocolate industry is not in decline). Admist all the billions of pounds of debt, doom and gloom, buying yourself a 50 pence virtual tshirt before going to a free online event can have a positive mental impact.
If the 638 million people/accounts predicted by 2015 in this report all spend £2 a month, well thats £1,271,000,000 a month flowing in the global economy. Asset production costs are relatively cheap, distribution and replication is cheap and there is not a great deal of packaging or waste so its also good for the planet. It is also (potentially) a truly global marketplace and if we can keep the territorial lockouts away (that the games industry suffers from) then a whole host of new ideas and business models will evolve. That’s without even mentioning 3d printing to redistribute manufacture.

2 thoughts on “Virtual Worlds provide green shoots of recovery?

  1. I think most consumers would expect virtual worlds to offer the same degree of security that they get in online retail purchase transactions. No virtual world can offer such guarantees yet.

  2. All the pieces are there. Even Warcraft has options for things like keyfob encryption. Commercial transactions need only be done through paypal, whether buying books or virtual items it should be the same. Every internet browser for online activity has been compromised up to now in some way, loggers, phishing etc. So in many ways the virtual worlds, with specific single client applications are actually more secure than the websites?
    Also if all the purchases in a virtual world are very small value consumers are less concerned than if they are paying their mortgage.
    That is not to say there are not problems to solve 🙂 With scams or sharp practice around reputable online stores such as this one the security and trust problems are not just the VW’s problems to address.

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