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29 Jan

Where in the world is everyone?


Just a little map showing the head office locations of companies operating virtual worlds. Here’s the direct link for the map URL.

28 Jan

Trend watch: Virtual world search terms

We’ve taken a look at this before – search terms landing on the K Zero website. Here’s some interesting searches from Jan….

opposite of interoperability

adult virtual worlds

second life demographics

virtual worlds for 11 year olds Continue reading →

DM News covers L’Oreal Paris campaign

It’s been over for a few months now but interest in the campaign we created for L’Oreal Paris in Second Life continues. DM News is running a feature on the approach we took. Full article here.

20 Jan

Puma in Football Superstars: Virtual store and goods

Virtual Goods

Football Superstars is now live and doing rather well with over 250k registered users already (more about this over on ). Puma is one of the lead brands in-world at the moment (with Reebok) and is deploying a virtual goods strategy. Here’s some imagery from the campaign.

Continue reading →

Ancient virtual worlds

Well, not all ancient, but certainly historic. As a follow-up to this post about the potential for mirror worlds to re-create times gone by, here’s some machinima showing early demonstrations of this concept.

The Forbidden City IBM project:

Slightly different this time, the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: a Virtual Satellite Tour:

Continue reading →

The importance of branding in a recession (for KT&T VW’s)

How is the global recession going to impact virtual worlds in the kids, tween and teen virtual world sectors? A question in the minds of dozens of management teams of these worlds.


One early and obvious casualty from these economic times is a reduction in marketing budgets from advertisers. Marketers are being forced to re-examine their proposed expenditure and cut-back in areas typically classified as non-traditional or without demonstrable returns. Not good news for virtual worlds with business models relying on advertising and marketing from third-parties.


This issue is unfortunately further compounded because these marketers are probably also fearing for their jobs at the same time and more likely to ‘keep their heads down‘ rather than ‘stick their necks out‘ and propose virtual world campaigns.


On this basis, revenues from users (via premium subscriptions and micro-transactions) becomes paramount to the short and medium term success of these VW’s – and even more so due to the fact that this sector is already highly competitive and leaning towards over-supply. VW’s need to create strategies which improve on the conversion rates between active and paying users. The good news here is that small improvements on this conversion rate can lead to major revenue upsides.


So really, the key here is to focus on the buying process psychology related to ‘upgrading’ member accounts. And it’s the parents/guardians of members who are the target here as these are the people with the power, or more accurately, the credit card.


What’s needed here is the re-assurance from the VW’s directly to the parents that rewarding their children with premium services is a good thing – value for money essentially.


I’ve spoken several times about the challenges facing what I call ‘Pure-Plays’ – virtual worlds created solely for online purposes without a real-world awareness or presence. These companies have several challenges – grow their user bases, grow their user bases and compete against well-known brands with their own worlds and the positioning/establishment of their own brands. It’s this third point which is sometimes overlooked.


Of course, as the slide shown left identifies, there are several factors presented threats and issues for virtual worlds but in a recession I strongly believe the role of brand is the key to unlocking the value in active user bases.


The brand needs to get into the real world in order to build awareness and to a high degree credibility with the parents. They’re not going to dish out their valuable disposable income without being convinced of the value and most importantly, trusting the company.


What does getting into the real world actually mean?

. Continue reading →

100 Rules of Second Life

This made me smile. Prad Prathivi over on the Metaversally Speaking blog has a list of 100 Rules of Second Life. Here’s the first 50 and second 50. Arguably NSFW.

My favourites:

2. If her breasts are bigger than your head, shes a man in RL.

17. Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers.

37. If youve been DJing to an empty room for over an hour, its probably time to go home. Continue reading →

Opportunities and growth in the educational sector

We get asked a lot to offer our thoughts on growth areas in the virtual worlds space. This presentation, delivered at the London VW Expo from the end of last year outlines at a high level where we see this growth coming from.

Specifically for the educational sector, I’ve just done a podcast for RezEd produced in conjunction with Global Kids. Here’s the link to the podcast.

9 Jan

Predictions for 2009: Real world brands


The success of real world brands such as Mattel, Buildabearville and Disney creating virtual worlds coupled with pending launches from Lego and others confirms our believe in high growth potential for this category. Here’s a link to a press release from Mattel specifically about their digital plans in 2009.

Companies with strong real-world brands and of course existing brand awareness and customer bases have a major advantage over pure-play virtual worlds in the KT&T space.

Continue reading →

9 Jan

The Mattel Digital Network


Mattel announced today at the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Kids@Play Summit that it will be transforming the companys online strategy from brand Web site platform to interactive programming and content provider. The aggressive initiative is called the Mattel Digital Network, a new online destination for kids and families that is being driven by the companys experience and observations about how kids play today. The Network is a gateway to a world of open-ended online play ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú it will be user-focused and will become the portal to Mattels powerhouse brands, such as Barbie?ǬÆ, Hot Wheels?ǬÆ, Matchbox?Ç¬Æ and Radica?ǬÆ.

Todays kids don’t recognize technology, they recognize magic that engaging play experiences deliver, said Chuck Scothon, General Manager and Senior Vice President Mattel Digital Network. Mattel is known for providing magical play experiences through traditional toys, and now with the launch of the Mattel Digital Network, we extend our great play experiences into the digital space for kids of all ages.

The network is being created with a simple, defining touchstone – that it will be the place where the kid in all of us comes to play. Even its name, the Mattel Digital Network, was thoroughly dissected. More specifically, it is truly an all-brand initiative (Mattel), ensures a continued focus specifically on the space (Digital), and requires an ongoing commitment to keeping both the content and each target audience – from kids to tweens and teens to adults and collectors ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú in mind when building their online experience (Network).

Continue reading →

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