There is a lot of speculation out there as to where virtual world marketing is going to go. More specifically, is Second Life going to be around next year? Or in 5 years? Companies are constantly evaluating this against current business practices on a day to day basis. Virtual world marketing and development is said to still be in it’s infancy and early adoption phase yet people are asking where is this going to go. That’s partly because virtual worlds is breaching out of early adoption and into a common interactive extension of marketing strategies.
Virtual worlds are all around us and into the mainstream. Companies are leveraging it’s social networking strength to create brand evangelists of their products. Creating virtual spaces where communities of people that form groups loyal to specific brands and products can connect with each other. And that includes our kids.
Watch the commercials on Saturday mornings and see how each toy now has a means for the kids to interact with it’s virtual community. No longer does the stuffed animal just sit there on the shelf, or bed. You can go in-world and talk to it, personalize it and share it. What about Disney? Go chat and interact together with others in virtual Toontown.
And of course we can’t forget the legacy worlds out there like WoW. Currently at the time of this writing the level is at 70. And if you’re real good, you are roaming around at that level just waiting for the next installment of levels 70-80. “Kaching” is such an understatement to the wizards at Blizzard.
Another reason for this movement out of early adoption is that web technologies and virtual technologies are converging. That is a great thing for all of us. That enables virtual world environments to become more seamless to web environments. This creates better usability, and enhancing web features into virtual world environments like no other. Virtual worlds become an integrated feature of web environments and not a be all end all. Welcome to web 3.0