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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Virtual World Population Stagnating

3d virtual worlds fascinate everyone but they haven't gained the type of traction that most people expected they would.

In 2002, my writing partner and I penned a narrative non-fiction book about the history -- and impact -- of computer games and virtual worlds. We were fascinated by them. We still are.

Six years later, though, the number of participants is only inching forward -- and the numbers of young people joining the ranks of virtual participants is at a near standstill, according to the LinuxInsider story:

Only 7 percent of Internet gamers ages 13 and older visit a virtual world on a weekly basis, compared with 37 percent who visit social networking sites and 41 percent who watch short videos online with the same frequency, according to a recent Parks Associates survey.

The reality is that we're probably still a few years away from these worlds going mainstream; however, the slowdown in growth certainly doesn't represent a slowdown in the growth of these worlds. Marketing companies, television networks, film studios and game designers continue to build these virtual spaces where people are just now learning what they can and can't do.

While it's not likely that most folks -- at least initially -- understand the big deal about The Matrix Online (answer: the last film came out in 2003 and this community is still thriving), they can understand this scenario:

You're shopping for an article of clothing online, but your reticent to see how it looks on you. In a virtual space, designers can virtually build representations of their products -- and you can build virtual representations of you -- with an increasing reality about them. You can enter your dimensions, check out the way articles hang on your represented body and make a decision on a purchase.

Or imagine going into a virtual Bank of America, speaking with a virtual teller and having them hand you a receipt for your transaction that downloads to your computer right there.

And if you think that behaviors online don't have some impact on your real world behavior, think again.

By Brad at 10:49 AM | Comments (1)

(1) Thoughts on Virtual World Population Stagnating

The main reason virtual worlds in general haven't gained a lot more popularity in the last few years is because the technology that drives them is still very new and not as robust as it should be. People want everything today, instantly, flawlessly and don't completely understand the technical aspect they are dealing with. This turn into frustration and they go watch videos on youtube instead which is a much more simple medium that gives them instant gratification. Many people do realize virtual worlds have huge potential otherwise there wouldn't be such a large interest in them from a diversity of companies and investors. I think it's fair to say virtual worls will prove themselves in the future when they get more stable and robust and can give the user instantly what they want without bugs or annoyances like they do today.

Comments by Dreamworld : Wednesday, July 16, 2008 at 09:57 PM

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