Virtual Goods in Virtual Worlds with Virtual Greats


The virtual goods sector is primed for major growth due to the increased attention given by real world brands and of course the uplift in virtual world populations. – recent estimates value the virtual goods sector at $1.5bn. The Luxury Brands case study explains the virtual goods opportunity in this sector.

Millions Of Us released news today about Virtual Greats – their commercial vehicle to gain market share in the virtual goods space.

From the press release:

The inspiration for Virtual Greats came when I realized that this was a $1.5 billion market without any high-value copyrighted material, said Reuben Steiger, CEO, Millions of Us. Defining the market and acquiring these rights and distribution has been enormously rewarding.

Susan Wu, an analyst at Charles River Ventures, estimated in mid-2007 that the virtual goods market was worth approximately $1.5 billion and growing rapidly. The number of consumers coming in contact with the goods traded through Virtual Greats is expected to rise rapidly, particularly in light of research firm Gartner Inc.s prediction that 80 percent of active internet users will be members of at least one virtual world by 2012.

Discussions are also taking place with numerous other celebrities and rights-holders. Virtual Greats will sell likenesses, catchphrases, animations, clothing lines and other merchandise associated with aspirational characters and entertainment franchises. The new company will be headquartered in Los Angeles and led by Dan Jansen, former head of the Boston Consulting Groups Media & Entertainment practice and an active investor and entrepreneur in the new media space.

Virtual Greats will be offering its wares across multiple virtual world and social media platforms. The company is entering its first major venture with the massively popular virtual world Gaia Online. Virtual Greats will connect Gaias more than 5 million dedicated users with the virtual goods of stars such as Justin Timberlake.

This fast-growing, specialized and largely untapped market presents significant new business and creative opportunities for both talent and their distribution partners, said Dan Jansen, founding CEO, Virtual Greats.

Were very excited about our partnership with Virtual Greats, said Craig Sherman, CEO of Gaia Online. Were always looking for ways to create a deeper, more relevant engagement for our very active community. Partnering with Virtual Greats enables us to bring our users favorite real-life celebrities in world for a unique virtual experience.

Virtual Greats, supported by Millions of Us partner Omnicom (NYSE: OMC), is developing a centralized digital sales and distribution system for virtual worlds and related online communities. These goods will eventually be available for distribution across more than 60 different online platforms, ensuring aesthetic and functional consistency for IP owners, along with rigorous piracy protection. The firm will act as both a financial and technical clearinghouse for trade in virtual goods.

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