Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Virtual World Adoption Still Small in Reality

Strategy Analytics released a forecast of virtual world adoption, which shows that over the next ten years 22 percent of global broadband users will have registered for one or more virtual worlds.

This will result in a market approaching one billion registrants and an eight billion dollar services opportunity. Their study projects a diversified global market with services targeted at children, teens and adults across a wide range of applications.

Currently, fewer than 10 percent of virtual world registrants actually become active users. However, this figure is projected to increase to 27 percent of users by 2017.

Virtual worlds, such as Sulake's Habbo Hotel, have registered nearly 100 million registrants, and it has 10 million unique monthly visitors, while Linden Lab's Second Life has a similar pattern, with 12 million registrants and about one million active users.

The research indicates that virtual worlds represent a massive activity that is growing in Asia, the Americas and Europe, which so far emphasizes interests that appeal to Children and Teens. Adult virtual worlds are beginning to emerge with more social and educational applications.

"Despite a multitude of challenges, virtual worlds present a unique marketing opportunity to target a highly sought demographic, and virtual worlds should be part of a company's marketing portfolio," according to Harvey Cohen, President of Strategy Analytics.

Barry Gilbert, Vice President and Research Director, notes, "Numerous activities and forces are at work to help validate virtual world's value proposition and to overcome the many barriers to mass participation."

Frankly, I'm personally not convinced that virtual world adoption will ever emerge beyond its small niche in the market, in reality.