When I think of IBM and Sun Microsystems, I think of stoic, reliable mainframes, enterprise-class business software, data mining, processing et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. What I don’t think of is their bespectacled brainiacs pondering revenue streams in virtual worlds like Second Life. But like any other market that starts out small but looks to have potential, the big players are often found to be thinking long-term. And for either IBM or Sun to think long-term about MMOGs, this ain’t no game of chance…
While there are better places to advertise than within a video game, Google are keen to chase down in-game advertising:
“For me, [the sale of in-game music] makes more sense than in-game advertising. While you can see things like in-game advertising adding a sense of authenticity to a video game, in-game music makes for a more engaging experience, and offers a more scalable platform for revenue.
For instance, if you have a preference for a particular artist or genre, and the game permits, or is thematically adaptable enough to allow for the choosing of music, then the sky is the limit.”
Teasing out an example would involve some knowledge of the classic first-person video game Deus Ex.
Such is the truly immersive nature of the game, you could enter bars, nightclubs, office complexes, restaurants, just about anything, really.
The emphasis was on exploration and experimentation, which I reveled in hour after absorbing hour.
Within the context of the game, I see no reason why it wouldn’t have been possible to infuse purchasing opportunities for such things as music and maybe other kinds of merchandise.
However, if you look at the way advertising is evolving, with viral advertising and product placements, advertising might be less annoying and more specific and informative.
But maybe I’ve got it all wrong? After all, the best minds of both IBM and Sun Microsystems combined can’t see a way of making money out of something like Second Life:
“But when [Jaron Lanier] asked Mellissinos and Wladawsky-Berger how companies like IBM and Sun could actually generate money from Second Life, they couldn’t give him much of an answer.”
But I wouldn’t read too much into that. Rarely do scientist set out to create really creative / disruptive / destructive things, it’s usually the ‘visionary’ marketeers and military specialists that do that for them.
Wherever there are enough people in one place, there’s money to be made. Right now, the routes to make money aren’t glaringly obvious because we’re trying make predictions inside a world which is itself a prediction.
But on the outside, there’s a pretty compelling place for IBM and Sun to make their money the old-fashioned way:
“So if more people use software, the more likely it is to break, and they’re more likely to need consultants like IBM?”
Irrespective of the players on the inside of the game – be they Google hunting advertising revenue, or some media empire chasing a song or soundtrack – on the outside, the stuff that makes MMOGs real still needs the talents, the servers and the software of the likes of IBM and Sun Microsystems to make all things virtual really real…