Home > Misc > 2010-07-20 We Are The Network: Virtual World Success and Failure Factors – Past, Present and Future

2010-07-20 We Are The Network: Virtual World Success and Failure Factors – Past, Present and Future

July 18th, 2010

2010-07-19 Added reference link to blog post by returning Second Life CEO Philip Linden “Update on Strategy”

Virtual World Success and Failure Factors – Past, Present and Future

Please join our global discussion group
every Tuesday at 12pm noon U.S. Pacific / 3pm Eastern time

This Tuesday, July 20th at the Epoch Institute in Second Life

Click here to teleport to the Epoch Institute in Second Life

This Week’s Topic

Virtual World Success and Failure Factors – Past, Present and Future

Virtual worlds grabbed the attention of marketers, companies and educational institutions several years ago, in no small part driven by the fast growth of Second Life™ and offerings for younger children such as Disney’s Club Penguin and many others. Some predicted that virtual worlds would “replace the 2D web.” Over the course of several years many competitors appeared on the marketplace. Today it is far less clear whether this evolutionary replacement will occur in the mid-term, if ever.

In this discussion we will analyze three phases of virtual world development, using the Second Life environment as a model for discussion (since it is the one that most participants in this group know the best).

We will look at Second Life’s initial strong growth phase, discussing which factors seem to have driven and limited growth even during that fast adoption period.

A second phase appeared, in which more targeted uses of virtual worlds appeared, although also through this period usage growth appeared to have stalled, and in many ways retrenched (from public data, it would appear that concurrency has fallen to levels roughly comparable to two years ago after a peak in early 2009). Although on a typical day about 10,000 new registrations are logged, only about 2% of these registrations result in active users (from data presented in a public forum around the launch of Viewer 2).

The third phase has yet to unfold, as we go forward to some form of global financial recovery (with or without jobs, a related but separate topic). Will this third phase look like continued decline for virtual world use, or growth, and what drivers will determine its shape?

We will discuss the corporate model, technical, community, marketing and external cultural and business/financial drivers for the growth or lack of growth through these phases. Is there a path that would result in strong future growth for virtual world technologies, has the market splintered in a fashion that reflects strong but less visible growth, and under what conditions would a system such as Second Life return to strong growth, or has it reached its ultimate size based on the number of people who are interested in its philosophy and concept base? Will virtual world concepts become dramatically widespread, but in some other form than a single-vendor connected system? Are there drivers that indicate that the concepts must evolve to be of interest to a dramatically larger audience?

Join us Tuesday at 12PM noon U.S. Pacific / 3pm U.S. Eastern time for an interactive discussion, and thanks for being part of “We Are The Network”!

If you do not have a Second Life account and would like a quick start to attend the session, please contact me for more information.

Best regards,


Reading links below – have fun and see you soon!

BizEd Business Success and Failure 1

Most Business-Launched Virtual Worlds Fail, Gartner Says

Club Penguin Misses Targets, Gives Disney a Half-Price Deal

Tateru Nino’s Second Life Statistical Charts pages
http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/sl-statistical-charts/ and

Update on Strategy – post by returning CEO of Linden Lab Philip Linden (Rosedale)

How Can I Get Event Announcements (choose one or more)?

* Subscribe to EMail alerts at http://joelfoner.com

* Watch http://joelfoner.com or add this feed to your RSS reader

* Follow @JoelFoner on Twitter

* Join the We Are The Network group in Second Life™

* Join the We Are The Network hippoGroup ( this does not take up a group slot – tap the “We Are The Network” sign at the Epoch Institute in Second Life™)

* Follow Joel Foner on Google Buzz (joel dot foner at gmail dot com)

* Join the JoelFoner.com – We Are The Network Fan Page on Facebook

Please Note – Mixed Text and Voice Session:

We Are The Network is an open, mixed voice / text discussion session. Please feel free to participate in voice or in text, to your preference. The facilitator and some participants will be using voice, so you may wish to enable voice in your viewer so that you can hear the voice portions of the session.

To enable voice, choose Preferences from the Edit menu, click the “Voice Chat” tab along the left of the form, and then make sure that “Enable voice chat” is checked. Again, speaking is not required for this session, however if you do not enable voice, and use speakers or headphones, you will not be able to hear part of the discussion.

Thanks for attending!

Joel Foner (Second Life: Joel Savard)


Comments are closed.