Virtual World Users Tops 800 Million

I love the blog over at KZero for all the hard data they collect on virtual worlds.  Take this entry, about the number of registered users in virtual worlds and games.  Clearly virtual worlds aren’t going anywhere, not with the kind of growth that’s being measured, especially in the 15-25 age group.  But I still wonder at the direction they’re heading.  If you look at the trends, it’s mostly in either the scripted, game-based worlds or the social worlds that offer limited creativity and what amounts to glorified chat programs.  These are still great and it’s awesome to see these communities grow, but we are certainly seeing less of a push for transformative worlds that blend the real with the virtual.  It certainly easier, from a legal perspective, to make a self-contained world that avoids real world implications.  Maybe that’s just the point.  After years of research and analysis on the laws affecting VWs, maybe all the game designers saw the writing on the wall and chose to focus inward and reduce their risk exposure.  Still with 800m users and growing, MMO virtual worlds are going to shape the future of the Internet whether or not the law is ready for it.

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About Justin Kwong

An attorney in the Twin Cities and adjunct professor at William Mitchell College of Law where I teach a seminar on the law of virtual worlds.
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