Social networking and Web 3.0 merge in virtual worlds

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — Just like blogging and the ability to comment on news items online are, in essence, popularizing and decentralizing the news industry, so too are virtual worlds popularizing and decentralizing the gaming, meeting, and 3D graphic design industries, reports In-Stat .

Virtual worlds — especially the 3D kinds — are classified under the Web 3.0 category because of their profound ability to integrate multiple types of content, information sources, and feeds into one highly engaging and interactive format, the high-tech market research firm says.

Virtual worlds are online, computer-generated simulations of lifelike or fantasy environments where users guide their "avatar," or digital representation of their physical selves, to accomplish various goals.

"Evidence supports the conclusion that the ‘killer application’ that is critical to virtual worlds — and, by extension, to Web 3.0 — is, in fact, already here and it is none other than social networking," says Vahid Dejwakh, In-Stat analyst.

Recent research by InStat found the following:

  • Total registered users of virtual worlds are expected to exceed 1 billion and total revenue is expected to exceed US $ 3 billion by 2012.
  • 70% of the more than 300 million registered users of virtual worlds are younger than 18.
  • Virtual world companies earn close to 90% of their revenue from the sale of virtual items, currency, land, and fees associated with these items.