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How did a small Finnish company create an online world which now boasts the largest current active user base in Europe and North America (about 6.5 million)*, far larger than World of Warcraft (around 4.5 million, not counting its Chinese audience)? Last week, Sulka Haro of […] Read more »

While visiting China to speak at an arts festival last month, I also filed a GigaOM story on HiPiHi, a start-up founded by one of the country’s top Internet entrepreneurs. Thanks to Om’s reputation, the article is easily the highest profile coverage yet for the upcoming […] Read more »

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Zhong Guan Village, Beijing – Last year, a mysterious YouTube video purported to demo a “Chinese Second Life” called HiPiHi (pronounced “high-pee-high”) stormed the virtual world blogosphere. But with little English language commentary to go on, metaverse experts like Raph Koster were left to wildly speculate. […] Read more »

It’s quickly becoming clear that the big potential console war to watch now has nothing to do with Microsoft and Sony, or even the living room; instead, it may be between Apple and Nintendo, and their top handheld systems. Consider: Back in March, Nintendo quietly filed […] Read more »

I just came across an amazingly handy list of ways that online worlds make money, as compiled by Canadian game developer Adrian Crook. His guide is limited to MMOs which are free to play, so it doesn’t include subscriptions, the standard since 1984, when CompuServe began […] Read more »

The brainchild of several ex-Netscape execs, the Mountain View start-up Multiverse, as the name suggests, isn’t a single online world, but a platform for creating games and other 3D experiences with the company’s development tools, which are then run on its servers. (Like Dark Horizons, a […] Read more »

If you joined Facebook recently (and really, who hasn’t?) chances are your profile includes a walking corpse like the one on the left. Launched in mid-June, the Zombies game is already among the social network’s most popular widgets, boasting well over 2 million users. It’s essentially […] Read more »

What does a virtual world have to do with making a real world businesses more eco-friendly? Potentially a lot. Here’s a cheat sheet on noteworthy green development projects in Second Life, the user-created world I’ve been writing about over the last four years on my blog […] Read more »

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We’re still a few months from holiday shopping season, but I’m making this prediction now: The Xbox 360 is this year’s PS3. Last year, of course, was when Sony’s over-priced, under-delivered next generation console cost the company its preeminence in the console market to the Nintendo […] Read more »

Whatever tumbles its stock is taking, one thing is clear: the search giant is dead serious about casual games. That’s the gist from their “AdSense for Games” presentation at last week’s Casual Connect conference in Seattle, and if the specifics are still sketchy, the salient point […] Read more »

This week, the biggest bit of news in the online world industry didn’t come from E3 in Los Angeles (though we’ve got an on-the-scene wrap-up coming soon); no, it emanated from the DigitalLife conference in New York City, as reported on the blog of Scientific American, […] Read more »

Recently Forbes featured a widely-cited article (reg. req.) on marketing in Second Life that was so spectacularly incorrect, it inspired me to whip up this reference guide, as the errors there keep cropping up elsewhere. As someone who worked for Linden Lab, consults on and is […] Read more »

I’ve read this press release three times, and I still don’t know what it means, exactly, except that several traditional media corporations have jumped into online games in a huge way. Thanks to a joint investment by three VC firms, TimeWarner, NBC, and Bertelsmann (along with […] Read more »

It’s got a large screen, a wireless Internet connection, and a touch interface a bit like the bestselling Nintendo DS, which you’d think would make it an ideal gaming platform. But for some reason, in all the avalanche of hype, I’ve read little or nothing about […] Read more »

Right in time for the July 4th holiday week (after all, what’s more American than demanding your day in court?), businessman Kevin Alderman and his lawyer have just filed suit against someone who goes by the name Volkov Catteneo, for copyright infringement. This would be just […] Read more »

Taxes, trademarks, advertising, malware, and more taxes. For every story I report on for GigaOM, there’s a bunch I save, to see how they develop. Here’s a handful of online world/MMO news items I’ll be keeping an eye on for future stories in the realm of […] Read more »

So here’s the game-related stock conundrum of the day: last fiscal year, the Sony Corporation had revenue nearly nine times larger than Nintendo ($71 billion to 7.8 billion)– which isn’t surprising, since that includes all Sony’s many divisions (hardware, videogames, movies, etc.), versus Nintendo, which only […] Read more »

The latest revenue model for online communities doesn’t exist—literally. Several companies are already making quite a lot of actual money, not through advertising or subscriptions, but by selling items that are really just images on a screen. That’s the main theme of the Virtual Goods Summit, […] Read more »

Here’s a sentence I never thought I’d read outside a cyberpunk sci-fi novel: “Should my catwoman avatar wear a business suit at the virtual interview with Microsoft?” But that’s become a serious question, thanks to the growth of corporate events, meetings, and conferences held within online […] Read more »

After 32 months of continual growth, the largest MMO in the world may, at long last, be peaking. That’s my conclusion, at least, looking at the latest stats from WarcraftRealms.com, a large fansite which tracks and analyzes population statistics and demographics for Warcraft. The site publishes […] Read more »

Talk about missed opportunities: after a lot of expectation, the Opera web browser for the Nintendo DS is finally out in the US, and the initial response isn’t so great. Top gamer blog Destructoid gave it a pan, irked by its consistent difficulty of use (”Pure […] Read more »

Probably not, as it turns out; certainly not in the Western hemisphere, anyway. Working with publicly-known figures, veteran MMO developer Raph Koster recently made this observation on his blog: [I]t may be possible that World of Warcraft is actually sitting around #4 or #5 in the […] Read more »

Someone recently asked me how the game industry lost the attention war. Paradoxically, interactive entertainment has never been more popular or lucrative, but the game industry— narrowly defined here as the major consoles and game publishers— is now, with one notable exception, but a sliver in […] Read more »

Nicely timed to compete with Google’s Street Views, a Massachusetts-based company working in stealth mode just launched a demo of their technology. Right now, going to EveryScape offers you an immersive, 3D exploration of San Francisco’s Union Square, though a spokeswoman tells me they intend to […] Read more »

What’s the ROI on marketing in Second Life? After attacking the topic from a couple directions (most SL users seem receptive, but so far, are largely unimpressed with existing attempts), we finally have some concrete numbers to work with, at least on the more relevant metric […] Read more »

When technology analyst group Gartner recently asserted that “80 percent of active Internet users (and Fortune 500 companies) will have a ‘second life’, but not necessarily in Second Life” by 2011, a lot of people jumped the gun and assumed 8 out of 10 of all […] Read more »

When technology analyst group Gartner recently asserted that “80 percent of active Internet users (and Fortune 500 companies) will have a ‘second life’, but not necessarily in Second Life” by 2011, a lot of people jumped the gun and assumed 8 out of 10 of all […] Read more »

Online worlds on the Internet? That’s so last month ago. Judging by recent initiatives from Sun and IBM, the latest trend is a corporate-controlled, business-centric virtual world architected for internal use only– call it the intranet metaverse. In Sun’s case, it’s MPK20, a “a virtual 3D […] Read more »

Om just passed along the news that Skype just launched a Game Developer Program, replete with their own branded Game Channel, and a dev kit so folks can create third party games that run over Skype, and make them money. This is a great idea bound […] Read more »

Om just passed along the news that Skype just launched a Game Developer Program, replete with their own branded Game Channel, and a dev kit so folks can create third party games that run over Skype, and make them money. This is a great idea bound […] Read more »

Online worlds on the Internet? That’s so last month ago. Judging by recent initiatives from Sun and IBM, the latest trend is a corporate-controlled, business-centric virtual world architected for internal use only– call it the intranet metaverse. In Sun’s case, it’s MPK20, a “a virtual 3D […] Read more »

So here’s the two big lessons on today’s news (read here and here) that Electronic Arts (ERTS) is posting a quarterly loss, forecasting a net loss for the 2008 fiscal year, and worst of all for gamers, delaying the much-anticipated Will Wright game Spore, previously scheduled […] Read more »

Computer and Videogames’ website is purportedly confirming what has just been an incessant rumor up to now: Vivendi game studio/World of Warcraft developer Blizzard Entertainment will announce an MMO spinoff of their wildly popular Starcraft franchise at the company’s May 19th Worldwide Invitational in South Korea. […] Read more »

Computer and Videogames’ website is purportedly confirming [see Update below] what has just been an incessant rumor up to now: Vivendi game studio/World of Warcraft developer Blizzard Entertainment will announce an MMO spinoff of their wildly popular Starcraft franchise at the company’s May 19th Worldwide Invitational […] Read more »

David Cole of DFC Intelligence, a game industry expert for years, has been a guiding source for me for years, and he just revealed some astonishing numbers about the MMOG market: “I can let you be the first person we tell that we forecast the worldwide […] Read more »

Game industry expert David Cole of DFC Intelligence has been a guiding source for me for years, and he just revealed some astonishing numbers about the MMOG market: “I can let you be the first person we tell that we forecast the worldwide MMOG market going […] Read more »

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