Gartner on virtual worlds

It is always fun to read Gartner press releases - they always have a more definite way of stating the obvious. Listen to this: By the end of 2011, 80 percent of active Internet users (and Fortune 500 enterprises) will have a “second life”, but not necessarily in Second Life. How do they know that it will be 80 percent and not 95? Or just 60? And is there anyone out there that thinks that Second Life will have the whole market then. Is it really likely that there will be several virtual worlds 4 years from now? Maybe. But somewhere not that far away virtual worlds will be another way to browse the web. Standards will make it possible to integrate virtual worlds so that they will appear as one world. Just as there is one Internet - not many.

Then the press release reveals 5 laws for companies that dare venture into virtual worlds. I don't think any of these will become history. (1) Virtual worlds are not games, but neither are they a parallel universe (yet). Ok... ehhh... hrmmm.... yep. I agree.... Not games and not parallell universe.... (2) Behind every avatar is a real person. But don't forget that there is not an avatar behind every real person... yet... (3) Be relevant and add value. I like this one. I wonder how this is different from real worlds? When is it wise to not be relevant and add value? Maybe if you think that the world is a game.... (4) Understand and contain the downside. This is about the fact that adult activities are over represented in virtual worlds. This is not different from the early Internet. The anonymity makes it easier to engage in stuff that wouldn't normally be on the agenda. So this law means that companies should stay away from the dirt. Just the same as in real life one might assume.... (5) This is a long haul. Wait and see - there will be other players in this area in a few years. Do not invest too much early. Invest to learn but not to make money. This law makes more sense than the other 4. (At least to me.)

Anyway - a big thank you to Gartner for another piece of unmissable entertainment and to Business Communicators of Second Life® for pointing me this way.