You know, maybe I’m just not the ideal audience for environments like Second Life. In fact, even though I’m a hardcore online user, I fairly hate MMPORGs, MUDs, Everquest and World of Warcraft — they just feel cheesy to me somehow. That being said, it’s obvious that many, many Net users take this kind of thing seriously. So seriously, as some of you probably know, that people are willing to pay real cash to acquire digital properties — everything from clothes to real estate. And ever so slowly, there’s an industry springing up to serve these consumers.
So, why should a business marketer care? Because while Second Life and its ilk are mostly fodder for consumer marketers (case in point, General Motors’ Motorati Island campaign on SL), someday it’s going to go well beyond that. I predict that even smaller businesses without billion-dollar marketing budgets will have virtual reality designers on staff, the same way just about all have full-time Web designers on hand today. At this rate, I give it 10 years at the outside before virtual reality marketing becomes as standard a part of the marketing mix as Web content.