With 2007 at a close, I felt it was best to wait until the New Year to reflect on ’07 virtually. Three days pass and well, it is time to start reflecting on the past year. Virtual Worlds, primarily Second Life and World of Warcraft, has grown tremendously since 2007 and many of the previous predictions from last year are still very valid for the upcoming year (so much so that Massively reported them up as my 2008 predictions!) Let’s get started with some highlights of 2007 in review:
After reaching 2 million before the end of 2006, Second Life jumped to 5 million registrations by March 2007 and then well over 10 million after September 2007.
Right after the holiday season, the people over at Blizzard gave every virtual world enthusiast a reason to stay inside from the cold. The Burning Crusade was released, after standing in line for the Wii and the PS3, gamers stood in line for the MMO that they will never finish.
2007 was filled with major drama after drama in the virtual world; two major ones came to light. The first was the Second Life live musicians protest over the a release agreement for their performance at SLCC 2007 (which did eventually get resolved). The second was the closing of the much controversial but often loved forum Second Citizen.
Talking about drama, there was some major legal action in 2007 that did set some course of action for any upcoming lawsuits. The major one was Kevin Alderman’s (a.k.a. Stroker Serpentine, or as I like to call him Cousin Stroker) lawsuit of a virtual James Doe for copying his sex-gen bed. The lawsuit was later settled but a lot of things happened in the process (including the ability to get an avatars real name, ip address, and information from Linden Lab via supena).
Talking about MMO’s and virtual worlds, we get our first look at upcoming MMORPG’s, such as Age of Conan, The Secret World, Guild Wars II (yes we can finally jump!), oh and the new WoW expansion Wrath of the Litch King (it should be named “Addiction: Part III”).
Open, integration, and standard seem to be the buzz word in today’s Web 2.0 landscape. IBM and Second Life are not any different as they join forces for an integrated, open, 3-D net. One avatar for many worlds (I like the idea!), but I do hope it will gain quicker ground than the other open login project OpenID.
After World of Warcraft, Second Life gets television debut on The Office and CSI:NY. More importantly, CSI:NY also enters Second Life with their own sim (disclaimer I do perform at this sim on a weekly basis).
While 2007 came to an end, it did seem as if things were changing dramatically. The Electric Sheep Company cut a third of its staff, AOL and Pontiac left Second Life, and Corey Linden leaves Linden Lab.
Two years, TWO YEARS, and it seems that the boys of at Pure West Documentaries have finally finished Second Skin (well close to it). I’m praying for a trailer, soon!
2007 has many more memorable moments than I posted here, but these, I feel, have become the defining ones for current projects and future, upcoming virtual world activities. I think it is becoming very clear that the MMOG market is a very popular, sustainable, and money making thing, as the Virtual World market is here to stay and continue to evolve the Internet. My thoughts on what is in store for 2008, that is an entirely different story (or another post)!