Future Trends for Virtual Worlds

Illustration for article titled Future Trends for Virtual Worlds

The Virtual Worlds Expo took place last week in Los Angeles, and there's been bits and pieces of news from the event floating around — the wrap ups of roundtables and panels are the most interesting. Over at Free To Play, they have put together five big trends in virtual worlds, ranging from 'the war on geekiness' (oh, ouch) to one I'm most interested in, the movement from virtual world to real world instead of the other way around:

With so many entertainment and consumer brands moving into virtual worlds, it's easy to overlook the opposite trend starting to emerge. A handful of successful online brands are starting to move onto store shelves through licensing and partnership agreements. Neopets is the poster child in this space and Habbo, on the back of some early dabbling in the space, hinted at the show of a major offline brand tie-up to be announced soon


The real-to-virtual transition can be tough (be it a virtual world or movie tie-in), but it seems a lot easier to go the other way — and considering a lot of virtual world denizens are so damn cute already, how hard can a toy line be? Perhaps more traditional companies looking to 'break out from the glass wall' of retail can take a few marketing cues from their younger, simpler virtual worlds cousins. The War on Geekiness and 4 Other Trends from Virtual Worlds Expo 2008 [Free To Play]

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I am appalled that I immediately recognised those plushies as Neopets, and what's more could name over half.