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March 9, 2009

Economy hits Second Life

Posted: 10:29 AM ET

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/06/art.bracken.economy.irpt.jpg

caption="While many retailers in the real world suffer, some still are still opening in Second Life."]
We know the economy is not doing so well in the real world, but what about virtual worlds? More specifically, Second Life, which has its own economy and system of money. iReporters in Second Life have been sharing stories of how the real world economy is having an effect on the economy there - and the outlook is mixed.

“I am quite amazed that lots of businesses in Second Life still push for higher prices when so many people in the real world are losing their jobs," Second Life avatar Janey Bracken said.
"As Second Life expands with so many new people coming in lately, you wonder if less people will actually be bringing money into the virtual world, as it's going to be way down on the list of real-life expenditure as the credit crunch tightens.” Read her iReport

iReporter Wil Perian interviewed other Second Life residents on the changes they were seeing. “As the real life economy is a bit more unstable, Second Life will be a bit more stable," said Czari Zenovka, a business owner in Second Life. "One dollar goes a lot farther in Second Life than real life." Read more about this on iReport.com.

Jojogirl Bailey, another avatar business owner, told Perian, “I really think it is affecting folks who were spending large amounts of real money to fund their Second Life stuff.”

According to Linden Labs, the owners of Second Life, the number of total unique users with “positive monthly Linden flow” has actually increased in the past six months, though it did drop from September to November.

iReporter Martyn Vantelli spoke with avatar Kirsty25 Brune who is trying to start up a Second Life employment agency. She tells Vantelli, “I have met a lot of people that want this to work that already have businesses and need employees.” However, she has found that setting up her new business is not so easy. Read more about the employment market in Second Life

Despite these challenges, most of the iReporters and interviewees in Second Life are hopeful for the future. As Perian says, “The economy continues to go down and rarely do we hear some positive news. Perhaps it is Second Life that is giving us that bit of hope.”

Check out more iReport news at the iReport Blog.

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Filed under: economy • Internet


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