How much do investors price users at?
Continuing in the series of exploratory articles about the virtual world phenomenon, I will now explore the opportunities in that market. I would contend that this space is just a natural evolution of the Internet model and that this phenomenon may represent, in the long run, the next step evolution in the web. So, without further ado, here’s my list: Access (aka Subscriptions) Hosting (aka Real Estate) Platform (aka Client/Server) Collaboration Event Planning Education Building/Designing Professional Services Integration Trade platforms I will now go an and elaborate on each of those points. They are divided into three broad categories: opportunities for virtual world vendors, for users, and what I would call secondary markets. Opportunities For Virtual World Vendors I would generally group the opportunities for virtual world vendors into three broad category: access, hosting, and tools. Access (aka subscriptions) At the current time, this is the opportunity that most of the existing players have been mining the most. The basic model is simple: sell monthly or hourly subscription services to users. This is really no different than the business that AOL, Compuserve, and early ISPs were into, charging a fee to access an environment. Much like those early players in…Read More
Over the past few days, I’ve been writing about the Microsoft/AOL deal and why I think that it is a dangerous one to all of us. My core fear about the deal is that it will increase lock-up in the Internet space due to a new concept called Digital Rights Management. When using such a system, content is encrypted based on a number of criteria. My fear is not that the content will be encrypted (after all, it should be OK for vendors to protect their intellectual property if they want to) but the fact that there is no DRM standard that can be shared across the industry as a whole. As a result, we could end up in what I fear will be a lock-up situation. In a recent Security Focus column, Scott Granneman highlights some of the issues surrounding that lock-up situation. Implementing a complete solution means giving more control to one particular software company. In Scott’s example, it is Microsoft. In the case of the Apple music store, that control is in the hands of Apple. Two different solutions, two different ways to handle things. As a result, there will be more fragmentation again, as content that…Read More