I had friends who played in virtual worlds in the late 1970s (they needed mainframe access back then.)
I didn’t get it then – and I don’t get it now – but whether I get it or not doesn’t matter.
This year $1 billion was invested in various "virtual world" ventures. OK, there’s a lot of hot money around right now, but it can’t ALL be dumb money.
Also, if "community" is the key to the Internet, what could be more of a community than a place where you completely immerse yourself in another world with fellow virtual world inhabitants.
Two resources for you if you want to keep up-to-date with what’s going on:
!. Virtual World Management
The virtual world industry is big enough to have its own conferences, expos and industry analysts.
What is it?
It’s "animated filmmaking within a real-time virtual 3-D environment."
Frankly, I’ve yet to see a good machinima (I haven’t looked all that hard), but clearly this is a medium to watch. It’s growing fast and the current fan base is very passionate.
You can get a crash course here: