Check out the current OMMA cover story “I, Avatar.” It is a nice overview of the blurring of the lines between our online and offline worlds. Steve Smith (also the evocative Editor at MinOnline.com) writes how Brands and individuals are tapping the benefits and fun of character-driven communications.
Read the OMMA article here. - A key point is that our Virtual Hosts and Avatar conversations will get smarter as we devise better knoweledge management with our profile/preferences databases... the more relevant the content, the more valuable the interaction.
World of Warcraft and Second Life are just two of the usage and press leaders - WOW says they have over 8 million users worldwide, as owner Vivendi attributes the MMORPG as the key to their several billion in profits. Second Life usage is smaller and in question (read ValleyWag viewpoint) - probably under 2 million.
Where are the sales, you ask? IBM is spending millions on their 3 SL islands (one shaped like each letter "I.B.M"). Go here to see where IBM is spending $100 million on innovtion over the next couple of years
Another reference for success is that my company, Oddcast is serving over 200 million characters monthly!
The future of online interactions? Go here to watch the Sony PS3 presentation video about their amazing, 2 years in development, "Home" project. Watch the Phil Harrison, Sony EVP Development, interview here.