Virtual worlds make their money very differently from social-network sites – mostly from selling virtual objects. Though Disney’s Pixie Hollow and Webkinz and Webkinz, Jr. sell real objects such as “friendship bracelets” and plush toys, the economies of most virtual worlds (and multiplayer online games) rely on objects and artifacts such as clothing, furniture, and other property. Social sites, which to date have focused more on display ads, too, are moving into virtual-object retail (see this about Hi5 selling virtual gifts). A figure cited by The Economist indicates everybody may be moving in this direction, though there’s much to be learned about this business model. The article mentions that users at a popular VW aimed at teens, Gaia Online, “spend more than $1 million per month on virtual items.” Gaia recently hired a full-time economist, The Economist says, “to grapple with problems that are well known in the real world, such as inflation and an unequal distribution of wealth” (maybe child psychologists will need to employed too!). The British news magazine otherwise paints a more measured picture of virtual-world popularity than do other news outlets, but the figure it cites is “regular visitors,” not overall registered users. “In America, nearly 10 million children and teenagers visit virtual worlds regularly,” it refers to eMarketer as finding. Virtual Worlds News earlier cited data from Strategy Analytics projecting an overall global population of 186 million now, growing to 640m by 2015 (users of all ages – I blogged about that here). My most recent post on VW population is here.
Safer Internet Day 2105
- The policy of student data privacy
- News & views from ConnectSafely: April 23, 2015
- Cyberbullying is not a joke: Celebrities and public figures can make a difference
- Facebook’s Scrapbook encourages photos of children, but think before you post
- Pew Survey: Reports of Facebook’s demise among teens greatly exaggerated
- Should I worry about my teens texting?
- Chromebooks & Google Apps appeal to schools & consumers
- Raising digital kids: 10 tips for improving parent-teen relationships
- Setting screen-time limits – for parents
- Digital Trust Foundation seeking proposals on digital abuse programs
- Parent bullying: The one-upper society
- What is the best way to introduce screen media to our three-and-a-half-year-old?
- Internet Explorer had a long and important life, but it’s time to move on
- Seven good smartphone security habits
- Arkansas bill puts youth safety and privacy in jeopardy