Second Life, Club Penguin – Do You Have a Virtual World Strategy?

Second Life and Club Penguin are two of the largest emerging business platforms known as virtual worlds.   These 3D online environments are places where people socialize and transact using personalized avatars – a computer user’s representation of himself/herself or alter ego.

Virtual worlds are now prime time. Today, there are over 100 different virtual worlds operating globally, many targeted at specific segments. Although numbers are difficult to verify, Second Life has over 15 million adult members worldwide; over 10 million children and teenagers regularly visit the Club Penguin and Habbo Hotel sites. According to the San Francisco Business News, US virtual goods transactions will total $400-$600 million in 2009, up from only $25-$50 million in 2007. The total 2009 global market for virtual goods is estimated to be $5.5 billion, with the majority of this coming from Asia.  This is only the beginning. Industry giants, Facebook and Apple, are testing virtual business apps to run on their existing social networking and wireless platforms.

Many large businesses are already marketing and transacting with their virtual consumers using virtual currencies.  IBM, Thomson, BMW and others have invested millions of dollars to buy Second Life “Islands” (read: presence or shelf space) to market their Avatar and Island-focused offerings.  So far, consumer activity has  primarily been around the purchases of goods to enhance their Avatars and Islands.  However, the V-Business possibilities are endless, some of which are germinating today: 

Better, Cheaper Learning and Training

The power of a 3D environment enables firms to interact with students and employees through a “real” hands-on experience at a substantially lower cost.  These activities could include virtual conferences, training sessions and product demos.

Deeper Consumers Conservations

Avatar-based interactions allow firms to engage users in sensitive, anonymous and rich conversations about their needs; the quality of these conversations are often unachievable using traditional market research techniques. 

Expanded Sales & Marketing Channels

Without the physical limitations of the real world, 3D virtual worlds enable a potent host of V-Business interactions, including rapid testing of: new offerings, store formats and pricing schemes.  As well, virtual worlds improve the opportunity for brand differentiation by enabling new business models around customer service, community building and image development.

As in the early days of the Internet, virtual worlds mix huge potential with deployment challenges and brand risk.  Just ask Google whose 2008 Lively virtual world execution is considered a flop.  Attaining first mover advantage is important but getting the execution right matters more.

For more information on our services and work, please visit the Quanta Consulting Inc., web site.


2 comments so far

  1. aditya1411 on

    All great ideas but I would also add another item to it: consider doing a virtual event/meeting. Virtual events and meetings are a great way to stay in front of customers, generate new leads and help close business already in the pipeline. These solutions are being deployed so rapidly by companies that the market is projected to exceed $18 billion by 2015. If you are interested in how you can use virtual environments attend the Virtual Edge Summit Feb. 22-23 (virtually or in-person if you are in/near Silicon Valley). There is no registration fee if you take a short survey.

    Virtual Edge Summit 2010 is the only event that focuses exclusively on providing education, training and solutions for planning and producing virtual events, meetings and communities. Over 2 days, 80 experts will share their experience with you, and be available for one-on-ones. The event also offers a rich program for featuring experts from Cisco, Stanford, IBM, Disney SAP, Oracle, Intel as well as top virtual technology and service providers like InXpo, ON24, 6Connex, Stream57, CGS VirtualEvents365, George P. Johnson, Unisfair and Digitell.

    When: February 22-23, 2010 8am until 6pm

    Where: At the Santa Clara Convention Center in California and virtually in browser based virtual environments offering 2D and 3D experiences.

    Register at

  2. Garden City on

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