Gartner Inc has released a study that claims that 80% of active internet users and Fortune 500 companies will have some sort of 'second life' inside a virtual world by end 2011.
This becomes very interesting as brands need to find new ways to connect with consumers in these virtual worlds in different and imaginative ways.
One of these virtual worlds, second life, currently has around 6million subscribers with around 1.7million having logged in over the last 60 days and about 1 million over the last 30 days. It is however believed that there are not that many active users of second life.
In March there were 211 people running business in second life earning between $2000 - $5000 and 115 earning above $5000 per month.
See actual stats on second life.
But is this over-hyped?
I think that second life is the beginning of the next level of the internet. Many of these virtual social networking worlds are popping up all over the place, even on consoles. See my post on PS3 Home.
Nintendo also has this with their Wii where you can create and travel to other people's consoles with your Mii and meet them on MiiPlaza.
The internet I believe as an experience will become a lot more visual over the years to come. Currently it is very text heavy. This year we are seeing a big migration of video to online. In a few years time I'm pretty sure that a lot of our internet experience will be virtual.
This is the next logical step.