Virtual Universes Landscape

Virtual universes are hype, that’s a sure bet. With very strong media coverage for universes like Second Life or World of Warcraft, announcers and users are discovering new spaces for playing, communicating, entertaining and even working which are in complete rupture with 2D spaces they already know.

Complete rupture? No, not exactly since most of these universes are evolution from existing services (chats, social networks, maps…). All these virtual universes bring some oxygen to sometimes unappealing concepts by providing new possibilities. But with new opportunities comes a lot of covetousness and build a very competitive environment inside which the most media covered are not the most interesting.

Did you know it?

  • There are more than 150 millions of Neopets‘ users which have already created more than 217 millions of accounts (you can count again, that’s more than MySpace)
  • KartRider and QQ are social platforms which generated nearly $100M in quarterly earnings (it’s quarterly earnings, not annual turnover)
  • There was $1 Billion Invested in Virtual Worlds in the Last Year (again, it’s $1 billion, not $1 million)

Do these figures astonish you? Well… so they did to me! But they are real.

Four main fields

Comparing all these universes won’t make any sense. First of all because they are very different and then because they target very different audience. But if you REALLY need a comparison, then you can have a look at these two (partial) comparison charts: Virtual Worlds Comparison Chart, Casual Immersive Worlds and Virtual Worlds Platforms and User Numbers.

Let me introduce you to these universes by using a map where I positioned most of them. All of these are not vast virtual world like Second Life, but they all share common characteristics: avatars, virtual currency and virtual places where avatars can meet, chat, play and interact.

This map is divided in 4 main fields:

  • Social, with universe revolving around community building
  • Games, with universes relying on online games
  • Entertainment, where music, videos and films related content
  • Business, where selling or exchanging goods is the main motivator for users and with enterprise applications (virtual training, serious games…)

Please not that these fields overlap themselves:

VirtualUniversesLandscape.jpg

If you search for a high-quality version of this map, here it is: Virtual Universes Landscape.

A wide typology of uages

You can find on this map various groups which are related to specific usage:

Obviously, all these universes are not at the same maturity level: some are approaching the final stage of their life cycle (like Everquest), some others are crossing a turbulence area (Yankee Group Says Hype of Second Life Far Outweighs Its Ability to Impact Mainstream Interactivity), others are growing very fast (Gaia Online) and some are repositioning themselves (like IMVU which is morphing into a social network and Entropia Universe which will try to compete with video games).

A nearly saturated market?

With more than 150 active or soon-to-be-launched virtual universes, accept some numerous take over and disappearances. In this profusion, which universe is the right one? Its’ a hard guess since only two audience niches are sharply targeted: teen and adults (Virtual Worlds Are Trendy Spot for Kids and Teens).

It took 10 years to structure the internet media landscape and provide announcers with reliable communication tools (adwords, adsens…) and measure tools. How long will it takes with the virtual universes media landscape? Who will master advertising inside these new territories / markets? Is co-creation a reality? So many questions… which will find answers in the next months. Stay tuned.

16 commentaires pour “Virtual Universes Landscape”

  1. Posté par University Update - Video Games - Virtual Universes Landscape a dit : le

    […] Virtual Universes Landscape » This Summary is from an article posted at FredCavazza.net on Thursday, October 04, 2007 […]

  2. Posté par Julien a dit : le

    150 millions of Neopets users, People are crazy !

  3. Posté par alain a dit : le

    Je découvre votre blogue. Il est très bien et le contenu aussi, surtout.
    Très intéressant, merci pour l’information.

    http://www.mybonjourquebec.com

  4. Posté par BlinkGeo » Monday Link Karma a dit : le

    […] the UpNext blog links to two relevant posts about virtual worlds and 3D […]

  5. Posté par Browsing the metaverse » Virtual Worlds Landscape a dit : le

    […] into a nice map of the virtual world landscape. Based on criteria of Business, Entertainment, Social and Game, Fred Cavazza made an […]

  6. Posté par Leon Kitain a dit : le

    QQ has recently expanded its offerings to the west, opening an office in America. The first American offering is http://www.QQgames.com, which may be a better place to link regarding QQ than the South African portal site.

  7. Posté par Adult Dating » Virtual Universes Landscape a dit : le

    […] FredCavazza.net wrote an interesting post today on Virtual Universes LandscapeHere’s a quick excerpt Virtual universes are hype, that’s a sure bet. With very strong media coverage for universes like … services (chats, social networks, maps…). All these virtual universes bring some oxygen to sometimes […]

  8. Posté par sports a dit : le

    merci à toi pour ‘img 😀

  9. Posté par Roo Reynolds - What’s Next? » Blog Archive » Links for Saturday 10th November, 2007 a dit : le

    […] FredCavazza.net » Virtual Universes Landscape – “Let me introduce you to these universes by using a map where I positioned most of them. All of these are not vast virtual world like Second Life, but they all share common characteristics.” […]

  10. Posté par Virtual Universes Landscape « secondlife is a poorhouse a dit : le

    […] Read more on FredCavazza.net […]

  11. Posté par Virtuelle Welten für Lehrer und Schüler « histucation a dit : le

    […] Überblickskarte der Virtuellen Welten gibt es in dem Artikel “Virtual Universes Landscape” vom 4. Oktober 2007 auf […]

  12. Posté par citypixel.com blog » Blog Archive » Lots of competition! a dit : le
  13. Posté par metaversians » Blog Archive » Mehr zur Taxonomie virtueller Welten a dit : le

    […] werden interessante visuelle Charts wie z.B, das “Virtual Universe Landscape” von Fred Cavazza hervorgehoben. Alles in allem eine gute Quelle zur Kategorisierung von Online-Welten. [via Dusan […]

  14. Posté par 1. Hilfe für Second Life - Buchbesprechung | Second Life Talk a dit : le

    […] der Abschnitt über die Zukunftschancen des Web 3D zu lesen. Hier weist er auf die interessante Virtual universe Landscape von Fred […]

  15. Posté par kevin rothermel » Blog Archive » Virtual Interaction Patented, Everyone To Be Sued a dit : le

    […] Via Fred Cavazza) These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web […]

  16. Posté par Virtual Worlds: Comparisons and Overviews « Marmalade a dit : le

    […] The rest that I’m posting below are just different diagrams that show the variety of virtual worlds and some of them have hyperlinks to more detailed info: http://www.farmtechagriservices.com/2007/10/04/virtual-universes-landscape/ […]