From 2004's NWN story, "Anshe at The Gates"
The Meaning of a Million (Dollars): Only a few months ago, virtual world pioneer Randy Farmer predicted it would happen in 2007, but she's arrived already. While the press has recently been awash with stories on the "big three" metaverse developers (Rivers Run Red, The Electric Sheep Company, and NWN sponsor Millions of Us) and their various corporate clients (Addidas, Nissan, Sun Microsystems, and so on), it's fitting that this week, collective attention has momentarily swung back to Anshe Chung, the avatar-based entrepeneur who started it all, by appearing on the cover of BusinessWeek in May. While other individuals have become millionaires through externally-driven virtual world activity (most recently, a Chinese student in Japan), the official press release from Ms. Chung's real world company spin-off specifies that she has become "first online personality to achieve a net worth exceeding one million US dollars". [emph. mine]
Or, to aggregate the appropriate caveats into an unwieldy but far more accurate statement:
If Anshe Chung gradually sold all her Second Life assets over the span of a year or two to prevent market devaluation, and if all the assets actually in the inventory of various avatars working for Anshe were successfully transferred back to her, and if throughout that time the in-world economy remained stable and the population continued growing, and if Second Life did not suffer any serious interruptions of service either through hacking, scalability failures, sale of the company, or other unforeseen acts of God-- why, Anshe Chung's account holder would have, at the end of that long and arduous process, well over $1,000,000.
But then to be fair, press releases aren't the best format for precision.
In other Mixed Reality Monday news, my round-up of recent and upcoming SL events and projects funded by real world companies, persons, and organizations: a new, global currency exchange, two old school media mavens appear in Second Life, and two SL-related, brick-and-mortar based art premieres on either coast. All that and more after the break.
Mixed Reality Finance
With a decided touch of skepticism, NWN contributor Rik Riel reports on a new currency exchance that promises trades between L$ and numerous global currencies (Euro, Yen, Deutschemark, etc.) Caveat emptor, but emptor should be interested in vendor.
Mixed Reality Arts
Update, 11/28: Turns out there's another NYC-based gallery show this Wed. at the Jen Bekman gallery.
Image courtesy Scott G. Brooks
Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, established artist Scott G. Brooks (known in-world as Brooksini McAllister) presents his own strange and evocative portraits at the La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Hollywood. Residents who can't make the California premiere can catch the mirror world display at his Concussions Gallery (Wixom 154, 100, 106). "The real life opening will be... on December 1, 8-11pm," Scott/Brooksini e-mails me. "I'll be in Los Angeles the reception, and SL residents are invited to attend as well."
Mixed Reality Advertising
The Electric Sheep open up a metaverse shingle for Austin-based advertising agency GSDM, with a client list that includes Southwest Airlines, the US Air Force, and Wal-Mart. Read about it here.
Mixed Reality Media
Mixed Reaction to Mixed Reality Media: Last week, NWN sponsor Millions of Us produced the SL component of a performance of hiphop giant Jay-Z on the Jimmy Kimmel show. A coup in itself, though given the lateness of the announcement, logisitics, meddling lawyers, and more, some attendees were decidedly not enthused-- see here, and here. (Hat tip: SL Herald.)