Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Virtual World Entrepreneurship

Virtual World Entrepreneurship

Wired has just come out with another article profiling some of the folks who are making a living purely by playing within Linden Labs' "Second Life."

What's interesting about this article is the fact that money is being made by selling services to traditional organizations:

In a recent contract with the UC Davis Medical Center, Rufer-Bach created
virtual clinics in Second Life to train emergency workers who might be called
upon to rapidly set up medical facilities in a national crisis. The work is
funded by the Centers for Disease Control. "In the event of a biological attack
… the CDC have to set up emergency 12-hour push sites, to distribute
antibiotics," said Rufer-Bach.

To create the most realistic simulation possible, Rufer-Bach crafted about 80
distinct objects, "from chairs (to) a forklift, plumbing, wiring," she said. The
end result is a training environment that's not only lifelike, but relatively
inexpensive. "There are substantial advantages to doing this training in the
virtual world," said UC Davis professor Peter Yellowlees. For one thing, it's
"incredibly cheaper."

As more and more gets invested in making virtual worlds faster, cheaper, and better, expect more and more "real-world" applications. Just like the B2B market dwarfs the B2C market in software, expect the B2B market for virtual worlds to be enormous.

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