The Virtual Thief (and what that means for privacy)

Giff Constable technology, virtual worlds

In 2006, we created a online marketplace for virtual goods in Second Life. Our competitor had a daunting network effect advantage, but we had no intention of fighting over the existing market. The real market in our eyes was consumers yet to come (they never really came, but that’s a different story). To drive traffic, we built relationships with large …

Does Occulus Mean That VR Is Finally Here?

Giff Constable virtual worlds

Occulus Rift and better immersion rigs have allowed the promise of virtual worlds to rear its head again. Raph wrote a great post the other night, and I feel compelled to weigh in as well. Once upon a time, I was a near-expert in the space, obsessing about it from 2004 to 2008. I was also admittedly slightly bitter about …

Are Game Dynamics Jumping the Shark?

Giff Constable games, marketing, social games, virtual worlds

AdAge today asks “What’s saving the current crop of virtual games from becoming the next Second Life?”, with their answer being game dynamics. I am a huge believer in the power of creatively designed incentives and game-like compulsion loops, but I suspect enthusiasm for badges, levels and points have hit “fad” and “over-reliance” territory.  Foursquare, for example, used gaming very …

Why do people buy virtual goods? (on motivations and compulsions)

Giff Constable social games, virtual goods, virtual worlds

Virtual goods have finally been legitimized as a revenue model, rather than a niche (even weird) activity ignored in favor of advertising. Now the concept is spreading beyond its game / virtual world roots, and we’re seeing large numbers of companies trying to figure out a “virtual goods” strategy. While I believe very strongly in virtual goods as an effective …

Virtual world and social game ARPUs

Giff Constable metrics, social games, virtual worlds

Justin Smith had an interesting slide deck at the Social Games Summit where he shared his estimates for monthly ARPUs (average revenue per user): “good Facebook” – $0.30 – $0.40 “good MySpace” – $0.60 – $0.70 Some games can do much better. The Facebook game Battlestations shared some data in late 2008 where they appeared to have around a $1.00 …