Virtualising business

Business applications of virtual worlds

The business within: making money out of MMORPGs and MUVEs

Virtual worlds are serious business.  On 1st May 2008, Second Life found itself on the front page of Business Week.  The main story, ‘My Virtual Life’, documents how Chinese-German entrepreneur Anshe Chung built up her land development business from nothing to a million dollar operation of 17 people around the world in just two years.  The land is virtual, but the money is very real: massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) and multi-user virtual environments (MUVEs) are big business.

Content creation for retail in virtual worlds is earning real livings for thousands of people worldwide.  Case study:

Mead is a 35-year-old former factory worker in Norwich, England … He got on Second Life for fun and soon began creating animations for couples: … they’re so popular, especially with women, that every day he sells more than 300 copies of them at $1 or less apiece. He hopes the $1,900 a week that he clears will help pay off his mortgage. “It’s a dream come true, really,” he says. “I still find it so hard to believe.”.

[more to write here … a look at the Second Life Marketplace]

Khoisan Fisher's shop in the SL Marketplace

Khoisan Fisher’s shop in the SL Marketplace

Corporate training

    • Instructor-led remote teaching / training.  Cost-effective staff training, including induction courses for new employees.
    • Interview practice
    • Language teaching / language practice

Virtual offices, real collaboration

Justin Bovington, chief executive of the London marketing firm Rivers Run Red, for instance, uses Second Life as a virtual meeting place where ads, posters, and other designs can be viewed in 3D settings by clients and partners around the world in real time. That saves the weeks it would take to shuttle physical materials back and forth.

VenueGen [Click to view full-screen]

Case study



Corporate communications

InterGrowth Guide

Virtual conferences

Agile Dimensions (Full-screen video)

3D-VirtualEvents conferences and trade shows (Full-screen video)

Virtual exhibitions and trade shows


Virtual Edge Institute

References and readings

Hof, R.D. (2008). ‘My Virtual Life’, Business Week, 1st May 2008.

Hof, R.D.  (2008).  ‘It’s Not All Fun And Games: Virtual worlds abound in useful business applications’, Business Week, 1st May 2008.

Hof, R.D.  (2008). ‘Virtual Worlds, Virtual Economies’, Business Week, 1st May 2008.

‘How to Make Money with Virtual and Hybrid Events’, Hypergrid Business, 24 January 2012.