Virtual Worlds Online Essay

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With the advancement of science and technology, the virtual world is gradually seeping into media, marketing, entertainment, and our daily lives. With wide reaching effects on gaming, socializing, education, and military of other things, virtual worlds have exploded in number and presence over the past few years. A virtual world is an interactive simulated environment that can be accessed by multiple users through an online interface (“Virtual World”, 2006). The computer in question accesses a computer-simulated world, presenting various stimuli to the user, who in turn can manipulate the world and experience an 'electronic presence'. Despite the vast differences between virtual worlds and their applications, a few features are shared;…show more content…
Nevertheless, they do this in completely different ways. Whereas one is fictional the other is more realistic, where one is completely competitive the other is completely collegial. Virtual Worlds Management, a firm that tracks virtual worlds, recently announced that over $425 million has been invested during the 4th quarter of 2007 in 15 virtual world companies they were studying (Management, 2007). Apart from making money from investments, the virtual worlds make most of their money from their services. Although the money making techniques differ from company to company, they do share common methods. Firstly, there is usually an upfront cost which could be the box you buy or the activation fee. This can be followed by a monthly or timely payment for using the service. Still, other cash inflows come in the form of membership fees or the sale of virtual goods. Furthermore, the usual business activities such as donations, merchandise sales, and advertising help in making profits. Hence, the business model for such companies vary in number and structure (Mihaly, 2006). Nevertheless, the general idea includes three main entities, the game producer, the internet service provider, and the game consumer. The game design, story, programming, support, and distribution all falls under the game producer. The game consumer sells and buys both the
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