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Virtual money and virtual worlds

January 29, 2008

CU Hype has an interesting take on Second Life.

When I compare the state of the art gaming machines (PS3 and Xbox) to SL it doesn’t take much to say which is better. I have never been much of a gamer but recently bought the full meal deal, Sony Bravia LCD and a PlayStation 3. Why? The state of gaming has changed quite a bit since Zork and Wizardry. The graphics are better than the cartoons I used to watch as a kid. And with my beginner skills some of these games are going to last me a lifetime. Most of them have a real-time, Internet connection that brings the game into a non-virtual arena. You are playing with and against real people so it lends some concept of a larger human community. In a smaller way that is what SL brings to the table but in a pixelated setting.

Sony has something similar coming out on PS3 so the battle for virtual worlds is heating up.
There are some serious costs of both time and money for a business to set up shop on SL. It would be tough to get any ROI here. People don’t view money and the financial aspects of their life in virtual terms. In fact there is nothing virtual about a handful of cash.

Maybe in some future formats there may be some greater value in CUs using SL or something similar. Is it too early to tell? or are we seeing a technology, hearing the hype, and thinking it can help us. I don’t know for sure but blogging, twittering, YouTube, and Jott seem to be more than adequate in this First Life.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 29, 2008 8:42 am

    Not going to lie, I had to find Zork and Wizardry on Wikipedia. 🙂

    I’d choose to spend time on your setup (the HD and PS3) over SL any day.

    One of my problems with virtual worlds is the clutter. Unlike a well-written traditional video game, many of the participants are just, well, boring (or seeking topics not fit for description on an upstanding blog like this one).

  2. January 29, 2008 10:47 am

    Thanks for the shout out Gene.

    There are a dozen of these virtual worlds that get less press that SL that have more users. I think people will continue to develop these platforms and I think the new ones will be more and more successful.

    I have some ideas on how this will evolve but it is all theoretical and each of those theories do not have a place for banks or credit unions.

    As an aside I think that Microsoft or Sony will develop a virtual world where each of their games are linked in like old world gladiator arenas. Then the “Life” environment would run through the console on a subscription basis and allow gaming teams to create “Pubs” or “Blacksmith” shops for arming players prior to game play. That is my theory. I think it will take gameplay to really drive this environment.

    I see a partnership between the platform and one or two primary FIs. Maybe a solitary service like paypal for payment processing and currency conversion and a P2P lending program for “in Game” investments.

    I do not believe that this is a place for CUs to plant their flag. But CUs could prepare by offering purchase cards for minors linked to an adult account (allowance cards so to speak) that these kids could use in game play. Then grandma and grandpa could just send money to the card easily through a facebook widget or something like that.

    Those are my thoughts 🙂

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