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VWC Viewpoints December 2008/January 2009

2008: The Year in Review

Despite the failure of Google Lively and a global economy in decline, the virtual-worlds market continued to develop throughout 2008. Even before the economy began to decline, several vendors became aware that marketing and branding applications were not going to sustain them in the long term because of low visitor numbers in comparison with numbers in conventional media and that enterprise applications such as collaboration and training offered potentially more lucrative opportunities. Linden Lab increased the number of its staff who focused on the corporate market and pursued partnerships with Rivers Run Red and IBM to reach corporate buyers.

Small players continued to dominate the market in 2008, with Google entering then exiting the market and other large companies—including IBM, Nortel, and Sun Microsystems—still skirting round the edge of the market. Even the arrival of Sony's virtual world at the end of 2008 looked unlikely to change the industry beyond the confines of the company's own console.

Browser-based worlds proved popular in the consumer market and helped to improve the accessibility and usability of virtual worlds. Vendors also started to use Web services to integrate virtual worlds with other Web-based applications and data.

Download the report here:
2008:  The Year in Review