$1 Billion invested in 35 virtual world companies from October 2006 to October 2007
Research by Virtual Worlds Management reveals 33 Companies Raise $196.8 Million,Two Companies Acquired for $810 Million - click to read entire article
Excerpt from the article:
Investment spanned the entire virtual worlds value chain, including technology platform companies, virtual worlds developers, service providers and tools providers. Business models of the companies raising capital vary, ranging from advertising and subscriptions to virtual item sales, to enterprise software licensing, hosting and services.
With this incredible influx of funding and the names involved, I would say virtual worlds will not fade away, but become more of a fixture of everyday life for many. I only hope they take better care of the virtual worlds than they did the real one (Earth).