MMO World populations and predictions

I was reading the blog of my good friends at Pure West Documentaries about Guild Wars reaching the population of 3 million, and soon after at 3pointD there was news about one of the companies within Eve Online beginning to sell shares to players. I begun to wonder what is next. With these virtual worlds all allowing different reenactments of things you can do offline, such as retaining your intellectual property, buying shares in companies, bartering and using microeconomic systems to influence the world around you, what is next for these worlds to accomplish? Are there going to be major NFL, NBA franchises for each game? (Imagine the thought of the World of Warcraft Orcs going against the Second Life Prims at the 2196 NBA Finals). If you look at some of the major MMO’s populations; Second Life at 2 million (about the size of Houston, TX); Guild Wars at 3 million (slightly bigger than Chicago, IL); World of Warcraft = 7 million (slightly smaller than New York City, NY), this idea of the Internet becoming a series of metaverses that you can easily communicate, travel and participate in from one to another is slowly becoming a reality. All of this thinking has lead me to begin to make my predictions of the upcoming year.

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