A headline on today's paper caught my eye:
Virtual worlds become summer jobs
Young Entrepreneurs turn hobby into payday
The New York Times wire story talks about teens and 20-somethings earning money - real money, not play money - in 3-dimensional gaming environments and virtual worlds.
A virtual world is a 3-dimensional computer or Internet-based environment where members, users or players interact using avatars or digital representations of themselves.
In the article, one 18-year-old was working as a trader in a fantasy Web-based world called Entropia UniverseSecond Life including fashion design, architecture, and real estate development.
How big are virtual worlds? The article says that Gartner Media, a research firm, estimates that by 2011, 80 percent of Internet users will have an avatar of some kind.
An article like this is exciting to me because I've been exploring the virtual world Second Life for over a year now for business networking, marketing, online event planning and selling products and services. Second Life is not considered a "game" per se because although it looks like a 3-D gaming environment with rich graphics and animation, there is not ultimate goal to reach, and you are not playing against other people.
Second Life offers a platform and the tools for building, communications, networking, marketing and transactions. While the currency is Second Life is called Lindens, there is an exchange rate of about $2.67 Linden or L$2.67 per $1 US. You can convert the Linden you make in Second Life easily into US dollars or other "real world" currency easily through PayPal.
I'll blog more about Second Life often because there are some interesting new Alaska-oriented initiatives coming into this particular virtual world. But truth be told, I absolutely love Second Life. Not as much as my First Life, of course, but it is a great way to supplement the work I do, network for new clients and to stay in touch with old friends and make new ones around the world.
And yes, I do make money in a virtual world.