Talk to the (Digital) Hand

Take a look through the screen shots below. 

I’ll bet that is a set of companies you’ve never heard of, including:

But, between them, these companies took down $43,500,000 in the first quarter of this year, along a pretty even distribution (the largest was Offerpal, at $15 million).

What do they do? They are among a rapidly growing band of virtual goods companies that are getting some big bets placed on them, in an expectation that they are onto something. CNET blogger Dave Rosenberg provided a nice shout outto these and a handful of others in the sector that is worth a quick read.

Second Lifeis rightly regarded as having pioneered the modern era of virtual goods for grownups at a serious enough level to have attracted substantial corporate interest and experimentation. Close behind, The Simshas added the social,Seinfeld-ian spin to the virtual experience. And while there are clearly many satisfied Sims players and SL corporate success stories, there has been plenty of room to learn and build newer offerings that extend the model.

That’s what these companies like Offerpal Media and Nurien are doing and, when you think about it, it makes perfect sense.

As Don Tapscott often says in his keynotes about his latest book, Grown Up Digital, the under-25 net generation is a generation “bathed in bits.” Certainly they know the difference between the physical and digital worlds – we all do.  But the beauty of well-done virtual experiences is that they provide for an immersive reinvention or amplification of one’s self.

I believe many of these virtual goods companies are just taking the 2-D platforms of Facebook and LinkedIn and extending them the logical next step into 3-D information and commerce platforms.

Already, Hollywood has shown that it thinks 3-D movies are where the public wants to go. With a virtual, 3-D platform, you won’t just exchange information with your friends and colleagues, but your virtual self will interact with them, negotiate, meet, and conduct business.

It will be very interesting indeed, to see where all of this leads, but I urge you to check out some of these technologies.

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5 Responses to “Talk to the (Digital) Hand”


  1. 1 Sheeana August 14, 2009 at 6:13 am

    You have really valid points in this article, I believe that there is indeed plenty of room for growing virtual worlds and for social networking sites to grow, the market has so many opportunities, I have been watching a few of these kind of companies, and one of them in particular is http://www.frenzoo.com – similar to that of IMVU, it is fast growing and is quite unique for this market, another site is Meez.com, also growing quickly, its an exciting time to be in this industry!

  2. 2 eBullet August 20, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    Great article. It just shows that the bounds of the internet are next to none. Each person is given the opportunity to be two different people, one online and one off. What can’t you do on the internet that your physical persona can’t do in real life? Heck, you can (or your computer can) even get sick and die (from a virus) much like in real life.


  1. 1 Augmented reality; litigated virtuality « The Broad-Brush Update Trackback on October 1, 2009 at 1:05 pm
  2. 2 SxSWi 2010 Wrap « The Broad-Brush Update Trackback on March 22, 2010 at 1:13 pm
  3. 3 AustinStartup» Mobile Education Is? Trackback on November 3, 2011 at 1:28 pm

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