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VWC Viewpoints July 2008

Recent Developments

HP and Virtual Worlds
Players in The Technology Map lists IBM, Microsoft, and Sun Microsystems as significant virtual-worlds players. Cisco Systems has also been active in promoting virtual worlds. Until now, however, Hewlett-Packard has made few public statements about the new technology. A recent interview indicating HP's interest in virtual worlds is therefore significant and indicates that this IT giant is worth monitoring.

Virtual Worlds Users: 1 Billion
Importance of the Technology in The Technology Map compares the current state of the virtual-worlds market to the World Wide Web in the early 1990s when many people did not fully grasp or anticipate what the business applications would be. A recent study by Strategy Analytics that predicts that virtual worlds will evolve into an $8 billion opportunity by 2017 provides some useful indicators but fails to capture the breadth of the opportunity.

The Good and Bad of Children's Virtual Worlds
Opportunities in the Technology Map describes the social and creative virtual worlds that serve children as well as adults—in fact, virtual worlds for children and teens are currently a much larger market than virtual worlds for adults. However, the market is complex because although some evidence suggests that virtual worlds can help children's development, concerns about advertising and commercial exploitation of children also exist.

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Recent developments