Are We Facing a Winter of Virtual Worlds?

Illustration for article titled Are We Facing a Winter of Virtual Worlds?

While Second Life is still a media darling (though I think the general press is down in number of articles touting this new! and amazing! and wonderful! virtual space since this time last year), Bruce Damer has an interesting piece up over at Terra Nova: are virtual worlds facing a serious downturn in the near future? I suspect the comments section will get more interesting than the body of the post, which goes through eight potential pitfalls:

The key question I would like to pose the community is: are we already seeing the early sign of a Virtual Worlds downturn that may lead to a "winter" as severe as the one in the period 2000-2003? The second logical question is: if this is so, what can we do to head off or reduce the slope of a new downturn? If the infamous "chasm" lies before us, and not back in 2000-2003, then what can we do to sling a rope bridge over it?


A pretty large failure rate is to be expected, since there are more virtual worlds (however you wish to define that) floating around than can be supported by the current market. However, figuring out how to mitigate potential problems for a large swath of virtual worlds would probably be prudent. The post hasn't been up long, but there are already some interesting and thoughtful comments — it will probably grow over the next couple of days, if past Terra Nova posts are any indication.

A New Virtual World Winter? [Terra Nova]



@bkchurch: Age of Conan may be doing well, but how many of those players were former WoW players who are just migrating with their friends? It is undeniable that WoW introduced a lot of new people to MMOs but is there any data to suggest that this trend is still strong? I am very skeptical about the growth of the market in the subscription sector. I get more of sense that Age of Conan is poaching the current marketshare rather than growing it.