Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Making 6 Figures is Just a Game

Linden Labs' Second Life, is an online game that demonstrates clearly how this new market is exploding. Remember my previous post about user-generated content as one of the attributes of Web 2.0 businesses?

Second Life is a privately-owned, subscription-based massively-multiplayer online real-life game (MMORLG) created in 2003 by San Francisco-based Linden Lab. Founded by former RealNetworks CTO Philip Rosedale, Second Life gives its users (referred to as "residents") tools to add to and edit its world and participate in its economy. The majority of the content in the Second Life world is resident-created. Linden Lab actively promotes the concept that residents retain the intellectual property rights to objects they create (although they are required to offer Linden Lab an open license to it

In Second Life, there isn't actually anything in particular to do -- it's an unscripted game. That means new players can get lost in the confusion. Because there's no central plot, users have to create things to do, which has opened the platform up to commerce.

But here's the incredible thing. Second Life is creating a marketplace where players buy stuff to play with. Linden dollars, as the game's currency is called, trade at 300 to one U.S. dollar, and users are encouraged to use them to make things. You can buy property and build a home or a store, but you can also use the technology to customize the things you make, be it a storefront, furniture or clothing, which gives people the opportunity to cash in on their creativity.

Some of the more successful virtual businesses (Second Life has over 170,000 players) earn six figures or more and are now hiring real-world executives to manage explosive growth.

How fun is that?


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