Monday, December 31, 2007

Second Life and the Real

Second Life and other virtual worlds for grown-ups have enjoyed intense media attention in the last year but fallen far short of breathless expectations.

There has been a virtual world on television, in magzines, paperback books and cartoons. Now the proliferation of broadband Internet access is forcing players to rethink the ways they reach young people. Kids are starting to go to the Internet first

For nearly 50 years, since the start of Saturday morning cartoons, the television set has served as the front door to the children’s entertainment business.

Online worlds, which typically have low overhead and fat profit margins once they are up and running, charge a monthly fee of $5 to $15 and require the adoption of an avatar.

Some sites are free and rely on advertising to make money; others are advertising and subscription hybrids. Webkinz relies on the sale of stuffed animals, which come with tags that unlock digital content.

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