The Business Shrink, October 10th, 2007: "With virtual world’s forming into the next big thing on the horizon, the real world is starting to play catch up. Traffic stats are increasing and the money pouring into virtual worlds is starting to translate into real world money that cannot be ignored. Just recently a report was released by Screencast.com, a business research and intelligence gathering company, that listed subscription sales for online virtual worlds rising to $526,000,000 in the US market in 2006 alone.
With all this money pouring into the virtual worlds and attention being given to these markets, entrepreneurs and business minds come alive. Just as if it were in the 1800’s and dreamers were running into the California gold rush, people are now running to virtual worlds for entertainment and business.
With business savvy and genius creations comes the bad side of the virtual world progression of litigation, scams and regulations. Lawsuits and discussions are rising in the area of virtual worlds and if real world laws and government regulations apply to these new worlds."
This is definitely a growing meme: the ugliness of the real world intruding on the utopia of virtual worlds. It builds on some of the press a few years ago about Second Life land deals going sour. I think people secretly like these stories, because they confirm their skepticism about these new environments. Interesting to see how this discussion evolves. I'd love to see Second Life grabbing the bull by the horns and introducing a wide-ranging dispute resolution approach! We'll see...