Nic Mitham at Kzero has written a interesting piece on virtual worlds and the challenges they face in the current economic climate. He pays particular attention to ‘pure-play’ worlds, which are those that aren’t linked to a real-world brand.
Pure-play worlds don’t have the relative security of a more widely known brand to leverage from and Kzero’s view is that a foray into the real-world marketing space will assist in surviving the current challenges. It’s a claim that’s hard to refute given the ever-increasing competition in the space – the paying customers (mostly parents) are more likely to feel engaged with a product they’ve eyeballed beyond the computer screen. Of course, a lot of pure-play worlds are hard pushed to maintain their cash flow for development, let alone funding real-world marketing pushes with product to back it up.
In the Australian context, Mycosm, VastPark and MyCyberTwin all fall into the category of worlds with no real-world brand awareness beyond the products they’re developing. To date, Australia has escaped the worst of the worldwide economic conditions – that’s not going to continue forever and these three platforms face some nail-biting times ahead.