Last week on the Second Life Blog,
Linden Lab predicted that the user-to-user economy for Second Life in
2009 would be $450 million. This is based on a 2008 user-to-user
economy worth $350 million, $100 million of which was revenue generated
for users by their user-generated activities.
I'd love to see what kind of a power curve that spreads across. A growth of $100m in this economic climate is probably also way optimistic? But still, serious money all over the place.
Meanwhile IMVU (Second Life with manga eyes) is raking in $1.7m a month in the same way: users create content which they sell to each other, with the parent company taking a percentage of each transaction. Poses and avatar enhancements are the major sellers in IMVU, so says IMVU's brilliantly titled "Vice President of Product Development and General Manager of Direct Revenue", Lee Clancy:
"One of the most popular categories we have from a virtual goods
perspective is poses and animations that users can activate via
different words in the chat experience. Those are consistently among
our top sellers, ways to have your avatar do things outside of the core
set of basic actions."
As the pressure in real life to look young and perfect continues to dominate, virtual worlds will undoubtably continue to be a draw to those who find preening a virtual model of themselves an easier and more satisfying thing to do than dealing with the lumps and bumps of our realworld meatsuits. Funny old world, isn't it.