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Tuesday, July 14, 2009


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Tateru Nino

I can't imagine what niche SL can be said to have as its market. Houswives? Retirees? Oh wait, also educators, and geeks and businesses and musicians and artists and ... wait.

With so many heavy verticals, I think the niche label went elsewhere a long time ago. Unless it got redefined while my back was turned.

Arcadia Codesmith

If you want to pick up numbers from the freemium space, learn from the freemium titles:

* Micro-thin client is either entirely browser-based or downloads transparently.

* Game/world has an easy, intuitive interface; advanced options are held back until the player masters the basics.

* Game/world is seamless, low-latency and devoid of glaring bugs.

* Pay-to-play options are priced for a general audience; there are no thousand-dollar land auctions.

While WoW is the 900 lb gorilla in the fantasy subscription space, it's hardly alone; quite a few games are turning a comfortable profit in that genre (and WoW benefits these as a gateway game to the more sophisticated titles).

And SL may be effectively unchallenged in the VW arena, but with OpenSim-type worlds slowly getting their footing, Blue Mars on the horizon, and Metaplace engineered to scale to 3D when the time is ripe, that status won't last forever.

This game's not over.

Second Life Update

I would also mention the largest console MMORPG in Sony Playstation Home. This free-to-play micro-transaction virtual world is similar to Second Life but the players cannot create content. It has over 6.5 million accounts and a monopoly on the PS3 though.

Hamlet Au

Sony won't reveal how many of those 6.5 million accounts are recurring and regular users, though. I'd estimate 10-15%, optimistically.

Tinsel Silvera

I think SL is too diverse to be pegged with a singular niche label. Open Sim seems to be the closest competition at this time. Blue Mars is yet to be seen but am anxiously awaiting its arrival. As for Metaplace, I've been in there many times and still don't see the comparison.

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