07 June 2007

Virtual Worlds Business News

Virtual Worlds Weekly - Volume 1, Issue 15 - June 6, 2007

Virtual Worlds Weekly News
  • Meet-Me Virtual World Announced in Japan
  • Top 5 Pay-to-Play Virtual World Games
  • Korea Establishing User-Created Content Censorship Rules
  • Relay for Life Raises $75,000 in Second Life
  • Virtual World 125,000 Kids Fight Obesity in Whyville
  • Nexon's MMO Dancing Game, Online Audition, Hits 100,000
  • 85 Major Brands in Second Life
  • Virtual Worlds Fall Conference Hotel Discount Set
  • Cyworld USA to go mobile next year
  • Centric and Metabirds Partner to Expand Asian Position
  • Icarus and Vivox Partnership to Bring Five New Clients
  • Who's New to Second Life



>> Early Registration is now open - Virtual Worlds Fall Conference and Expo - October 10-11, 2007 - San Jose
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Meet-Me Virtual World Announced in Japan

Word has surfaced in IT Media News (Japanese) of a new 3D virtual world out of Japan apparently named meet-me and funded in part by trans cosmos. meet-me (at least in this article) is being positioned as similar to Second Life. A Google Translate provides some attempt at translation. From what we can tell from the Google translated article:

- expected to be released this winter
- no adult content (women and children welcome)
- replicates real world Tokyo
- replicates shopping - so there will be some type of ecommerce or transaction economy.
- Runs on Windows Vista but plans call for other platforms including mobile phones
- The real world seems to effect the virtual one - If season and also the weather the actual world reflect should have made, in Tokyo the cherry tree has bloomed, and the cherry tree blooms in the hypothetical space, if the rain falls in Tokyo, the rain falls in the hypothetical space, that - - it makes the shape which was said.
- Users can build a range of items including houses

more information


Top 5 Pay-to-Play Virtual World Games

MMOGData.com, by Phil White, is here to fill the void left when MMOGChart.com stopped updating. The site has data on MMOG Absolute Contribution, MMOG Active Subscriptions, market shares, and MMOGs broken down by genre, revenue model, and subscription levels. White admits that there are gaps and flaws in the information since he's just starting out, but it's already looking like a handy resource for anyone in the space. There's a lot you'd probably know already, and World of Warcraft is still eating up most of the market share at 68 percent, but there are some graphs that will be most interesting to watch in your RSS feed. For example, there are 12,974,412 total pay-to-play active subscriptions in March 2007. That's down from 13,087,766 in February, which was the last in a fairly steady nine-month climb from June 2006's 11,161,777. But some things never change:

Top 5 Pay-to-Play Games
1. World of Warcraft 8,500,000
2. Lineage 1,377,371
3. Lineage 2 990,574
4. Final Fantasy XI 500,000 (No new data after August)
5. Everquest 176,500

More data and an explanation from Phil White


Korea Establishing User-Created Content Censorship Rules

The Korean Ministry of Information and Communication announced on Monday a set of of basic guidelines for user-created content. 51.1 percent of Korean Internet users upload user-created content, but apparently half of the users are uncomfortable with the content being posted. It doesn't look like the Ministry has posted the rules on its English website yet, but we'll let you know when we see them. Rules will take into account user opinions, the Korea Herald says, through this website (currently non-functioning).

It's not clear through the story what sort of content this will apply to, but a Korea Times story discusses existing regulations about user-created political videos. Those restrictions are being lightened, though. Massively popular Korean MMO MapleStory, however, sponsors contests for user-created content, so it will be interesting to see if the decisions affect them.

Check out Raph Koster's take for more analysis.


Relay for Life Raises $75,000 in Second Life

The American Cancer Society's Relay for Life began in 1985 when one surgeon ran around a track to raise $27,000. In 2005 Second Life joined with the ACS to create a Virtual Relay for Life. In 2006 they raised $41,000, leading them to raise their goals to $75,000 for 2007. The group announced yesterday that they've met their goals, even though the walk-a-thon is still almost two months away. In the overnight event between July 27th and 28th, look for the avatars to be strutting around the 96-acre park through virtual realizations of Mexico, New York City, Paris, Sweden, and South Africa. For more information or to donate, check out their site. Donations have dropped off a bit (see graph) since the group met their goal, but there's plenty of time left to join in.


Virtual World 125,000 Kids Fight Obesity in Whyville

The WhyEat program launched by Whyville in 2005, through a partnership with the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, is a virtual nutrition product allowing users to experience the effects--positive and negative--of lifestyle and eating choices. Collectively, Whyvillians have made more than 3.5 million trips to the virtual Cafeteria and eaten more than 8.5 million food items. 20 percent have found their avatar negatively altered by a poor diet and had to visit a virtual dietitian or complete virtual exercise to slim down. Every day nearly 125,000 users eat virtual food and live a virtually healthy lifestyle. 45 percent of WhyEat participants saw changes in their real-life habits due to the program. more here


Nexon's MMO Dancing Game, Online Audition, Hits 100,000

Nexon America, the North American publishing arm of South Korea's Nexon Group, announced that their MMO dancing game, Audition Online, has reached its 100,000th user. The free-to-play game, which pits users in dancing contests against one another, earns revenue through microtransactions in its Fashion Shop. Users can buy new faces and outfits with either points earned in the game or Nexon Cash bought online or in Target stores. Audition Online still has a way to go before catching up to Nexon's MapleStory, which has more than 3 million registered North American users. more here


85 Major Brands in Second Life

K Zero, a metaverse consulting and implementation company, has some interesting information up on brand entry into Second Life. According to their research, 85 organizations with high global awareness had a presence in Second Life at the end of May 2007. While U.S.-based brands led the way initially and still control almost half the space, an increase in Western European registrations has paved the way for brands more familiar to them. Initially the majority of organizations had globally recognizable brands, but K Zero sees an increase in Tier Two companies that have strong recognition mostly in their own sectors. Technology companies have taken the lead with a 21% share ahead of media organizations with 17% and professional services and retail brands tied for third at 12%. more here


Virtual Worlds Fall Conference Hotel Discount Set

Virtual Worlds Fall Conference and Expo has announced a special discount hotel rate has been established for conference attendees at the San Jose Marriott. The San Jose Marriott is directly connected to the San Jose Convention Center where Virtual World Fall takes place. VW Fall attendees pay only 209.00(USD) per night when they register online here or call 1-408-280-1300 and reference "Virtual Worlds" and you will receive the discount. Virtual Worlds Fall Conference and Expo takes place October 10-11, 2007 at the San Jose Convention Center. VW Fall is produced by Virtual Worlds News parent Virtual Worlds Management.


Cyworld USA to go mobile next year

From GigaOM: We hadn?t talked to the Cyworld US team in awhile, so we stopped by their San Francisco offices this week to play catch up. The South Korean social network that launched in the U.S. last August, told us they are planning on launching a mobile application for the U.S. market in the first quarter of 2008. The company also told us it currently has 250,000 members and is growing at about 22% per month. Rest of the article here: gigaom.com


Centric and Metabirds Partner to Expand Asian Position

Centric, a Los Angeles-based social media and virtual world development firm, and Metabirds, a Tokyo -based virtual world development company, are joining forces to expand their capabilities and presence in Second Life. Centric is also the first Western development partner for HiPiHi, and this move further solidifies their position in Asia. Metabirds specializes in corporate and community builds for Japanese Second Life users. Both companies expect the partnership to take them in new directions.

We'll be meeting up with Ken Brady, Centric's Director for International Strategies, and Naoyoshi Shimaya, CEO of Metabirds, in Second Life tomorrow to talk about the partnership and their goals. Keep an eye out for the interview tomorrow afternoon. more here


Icarus and Vivox Partnership to Bring Five New Clients

Vivox, a provider of voice integration for virtual worlds, announced yesterday that they would integrate the Vivox Precision Studio with the Icarus Developer Tools Suite. Icarus Studios was the first studio to design a toolkit from scratch to meet the unique needs of virtual worlds developers. The partnership has already brought in three new undisclosed clients with two more in the works, all Fortune 100 companies, David Gardner, Executive Vice President of Icarus, tells VirtualWorldsNews.com. more here


Who's New to Second Life

Comcast establishes an island with design and build help from Millions of Us, reports 3pointD.com.

Costa Cruises simultaneously launches cruise ship in real life and Second LIfe, reports Luxist.com.

The Long Now Foundation will be bringing Brian Eno's 77 Million Paintings art exhibit to Second Life, from

NBA Commissioner David Stern will simulcast his State of the League Address in Second Life on June 7, from The Electric Sheep Company.

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