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Archive for March, 2009

An article in Virtual Worlds News reported that Korea-based Cyworld, and the Japanese worlds Mobile Game Town and Gree, generated over $510 million in revenue from virtual goods and services.

Figures published by Plus Eight Star Ltd. said that Cyworld produced $200 million in revenue during 2008; Mobile Game Town generated $250 million; and Gree pulled in a not-to-be-sneezed-at $60 million.

In the article, the VWN team point out that these “worlds” are not 3D environments:

“It is interesting to consider that all three of the profitable services above are essentially 2D virtual world applications. The purpose of the Plus Eight Star report is to discuss 3D virtual world applications throughout Asia and the West, but the 2D worlds are mentioned essentially as a point of comparison for how relatively unprofitable and little-used 3D worlds are by comparison.”

2D or 3D, the $510D is a significant figure.

Primary Source: Virtual World News

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In its recent press release Sulake Corporation, the parent company of Habbo, the world ‘s largest virtual world for teenagers, announced it has broken all previous records with sales 20% up in December 2008. As a result the company reached an annual revenue milestone of 50 million Euros (74 million USD) leading to profit; 4.8 million Euros (7 million USD) of EBITDA and a positive net result.

By year-end the Habbo community had also grown: 121 million Habbo characters had been created and the number of returning visitors increased by over 40%. Traffic to the virtual world also reached an all time high in December with over 11,5 million unique visitors.

Timo Soininen, CEO of Sulake Corporation explains:

“Our success in 2008 was a realization of the hard work we have put into Habbo. Constant site updates, usability improvements and a refresh of avatar clothing and accessories have all contributed to boosting our user experience and numbers. More teens than ever are visiting Habbo and they are staying longer.”

“We are confident that our Habbo business model, which is based primarily on user sales and supported by advertising, is a clear strength in the current economic climate. We do see opportunity to grow our advertising revenue with advertisers looking for targeted and cost effective social media solutions. Furthermore, IRC-Galleria, our social networking service for young adults, has continued to grow both in user and advertising revenue.”

In 2009 Sulake aims to continue driving growth and profitability. In addition, the company plans to extend its product portfolio into new platforms and target audiences with the launch of a new service later this year.

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Virtual MTV is a 3D online social experience where you can live the mtv life with all of your friends. You can create your avatar, design your crib, explore 3D worlds, shop and play fun games. Watch the video to learn more.

The world is a browser-based experience and is a re-working of an earlier world. Here’s the official MTV press release:

“In August of 2006 MTV launched its own virtual world where you could watch our shows and live the MTV life, virtually. You’ve sent us your comments and we listened. We’re excited to let you know that you can now check out a new and improved version of Virtual MTV at virtual.mtv.com! This new ALPHA version is browser-based and allows you to create an avatar, get your own crib, explore virtual worlds and play games.”

So, sign in to Pimp Your Universe and hope you that this new venture doesn’t end up as an episode of VH1’s “Where Are They Now?”

Primary Source: Virtual MTV

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Abandon Interactive Entertainment has released three trailers for their upcoming virtual game, Freaky Creatures.

Players customize their Creatures using a variety of parts and powers before taking them online to battle their friends. Players are awarded Creature Credits, which can be redeemed at the Creature Club Store online to purchase additional parts, powers and other objects.

Players can stay connected with opponents as well as other players via the live chat and spectator feature.

The Freaky Creatures experience begins with a starter pack that includes two action figures and a one-gigabyte reusable flash drive as the key to the Freaky Creatures Universe. Once players have customized their creature they can jump straight into battle or build a lair in which they can care for their creature and hang out with friends. Players can also participate in the Freaky Creatures community, personalize their homepage, play mini-games, join tournaments, check leaderboards, trade items, read animated comics, enter contests, form teams and much more in the ever expanding Freaky Creatures Universe.

Primary Source: Freaky Creatures

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On January 17th, US Airways flight 1549 took off from New York’s LaGuardia airport only to land minutes later on the Hudson River. Folks curious about the event don’t have to find their own crashing plane in order to experience the drama but use a virtual recreation available on YouTube.

The simulation was made by Scene Systems, a specialist company that creates animations for litigation. Their team will work with clients to construct 3D animated movies that can be used in courtroom cases to demonstrate how an event happened. According to their home page, “We work with leading law firms to turn complex expert testimony into powerful 3D animation that helps you prove your case.”

In this case, the reconstruction is based on the actual black box recording and interactions with the tower.

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Although predicting the death of the Second Life virtual world has become a spectator sport, there are still many real lif companies that are involved in using the environment for research, teaching, and promotion. THis includes IBM, who continues to have an active presence. One such project is the Virtual Universe Community (VUC), a passionate group of IBMers dedicated to understanding, building, and growing usage of virtual worlds for real business gain in an ever more globalized society.

The VUC was formed in late 2006 and has become perhaps the largest community in IBM with over 6000 members.

VUC members within Second Life are everywhere and engaged in projects to help communicate not only IBMs business goals, but to also foster a growing understanding of how Virtual Worlds will affect us personally.

Currently operating in SL is the Native American build as part of IBM’s Virtual Culture Festival.

The Native American build was chosen to be created on a non-IBM owned sim to showcase the many other talented designers and creators of Indigenous culture within Second Life. We specifically selected this Island because of its dedication and respect for Native people. Many thanks to the people whom reside and create on this wonderful sim and especially the owner of the sim, Boondoggle Gruppman.

This build was developed with input from the IBM Native Diversity Network (INDN) and the IBM Virtual Universe Community. Second Life residents can check out the sim at http://slurl.com/secondlife/Native%20Lands/238/26/23

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