This series wouldn’t have been complete without a look at virtual worlds and massive multiplayer online games (MMOGs). No longer a figment of futuristic science fiction, they have become reality today with over 40 3-d environments available for nearly every lifestyle and age demographic imaginable. According to KZERO, there are roughly 579 million registered accounts within virtual world and MMOG environments, with a large concentration of these users in the under 18 age demographic. These channels have come a long way since the initial explosion of Second Life and according to my guest, Reuben Steiger of Millions of Us, we can expect to see social networks like Twitter follow a similar pattern of adoption and growth.
In yesterday’s podcast episode, Reuben emphasized that purpose-driven, constructive and participatory experiences flourish in virtual worlds. Entertainment and charity orientations are still king, but utility-driven efforts are also gaining currency. In the past two years, organizations large and small have successfully conducted training, online education and recruiting efforts and Reuben predicts we’ll see more of these efforts over the next few years in the face of the rising costs of travel.
Reuben cautioned that consumers in these real-time environments cannot be targeted in the same way as other forms of traditional digital advertising. Virtual worlds and social real-time platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, require brand marketers to approach their messaging strategy differently with a heavy focus on purposeful engagement. When asked about upcoming trends, Reuben predicted user identities within Facebook and Twitter would become more avatarized and engaged in virtual merchandizing. He noted that branded virtual goods are consistently in higher demand than non-branded ones – a good starting place for well-known brands to introduce themselves to the 3-d culture.
You can listen to the full podcast episode here. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/MichelleBatten_iMediaWorks
This brings us to the end of our series “Will They Stay, Or Will They Go?” If you missed earlier episodes, please check out the recaps here on this blog.