Saturday, November 15, 2008
PaymentGuy's Top 10 Virtual Worlds
1. WebKinz World - Still the place to be for kids and families. Extremely profitable and well run Canadian family-owned business. Innovative merchandise and licensing tie in to virtual world with massive retail distribution and sales network in North America. Smart and methodical approach to internationalization. Howard Ganz is a kiddie virtual world God.
2. Second Life - Still the place to be for adults, as unlike practically every other virtual world it is nearly all user-generated content. Innovative with virtual land sales and virual currency exchange. Despite obvious well-publicized downsides like lag, UI, churn, crashes too often and stagnating community of active users, remains profitable and virtually owns the educator space. Simply the best communication tool (online visual conversations with spatial VOIP for multiple customizable avatars all completely free!) available on the planet.
3. Twinity - Not yet formally launched so sparsely populated, but takes virtuality to a new level with realistic reproductions of cities and user-friendly links to other media. Downside: no community spirit or user-generated content. Will challenge Second Life if they figure out how to market it.
4. Entropia Universe - The place for aficionados. Hi-tech escapism, flourishing $400m economy enabling fortunes to be made which can be extracted from real-life ATMs. Downside: notoriously difficult and time-consuming to learn the rules.
5. Runescape - Wildly successful virtual world with hardly any publicity, proving you don't have to be cutting edge to succeed.
6. Football Superstars - Great idea enabling people around the world to play football in teams, each with their own avatar ... and then retire to a virtual pub. But it is not yet formally launched, so not proved to be bug-free. The game's developers promise players will be matched according to skill, and will even get the chance to graduate into management. Sure to crush Swedish Powerchallenge soccer.
7. Cool Camels - Made by Naofolt KFT of Hungary offering the first opportunity to franchise a wildly successful teen virtual world. Has 2D and 3D versions and universal translator engine. Extremely innovative cartoon generator, game portfolio of 300+ stand alone and multiplayer games, in-world movie theater and successful merchandise and licensing operations. Profitable well-managed business looking for international franchise partners.
8. UB Funkeys - Designed by Radica and now owned and operated by Mattel. Technically and creatively brilliant with excellent innovation on the real toy tie in and USB plug in angle.
9. CluPenguin - 2.5D pixel mediocrity but excellently managed and run with the creative class keeping control until squeezing the corporate suits at Disney Interactive for $100's of millions for the property. The Penguin Trio achieved the golden goose exit strategy all virtual world operators dream of.
10. World of Warcraft - the best of the best hands down King of all Virtual Worlds. Simply awesome technically and a license to print money making machine.