Table 1 lists the worlds I have looked at so far in this part, but with some of the detail missing – it is your task to fill in the gaps. Note that I have not included a column for numbers of players/subscribers, as most companies only release this sort of data for specific occasions (such as launch dates or anniversaries) and it is impossible to gather data that can be compared on an equal basis, e.g. number of active subscribers on a single date. I included some of the available facts and figures in the text, where appropriate, simply to give you a flavour of the scale of each environment.
There are many, many more worlds out there that I haven’t mentioned, some of which will appear subsequently in this part. I have included two new worlds in the table (Active Worlds and Whyville) and left some of the information blank for you to explore and add for yourself. As well as the material you have just been reading, you will find http://www.virtualworldsreview.com/ info/ categories.shtml a useful website for this activity. Use it to get a basic impression of the worlds and to direct you to the more detailed – and more accurate – pages of information provided by the respective worlds themselves.
Table 1 Comparison of virtual worlds
|World||Owned by||Targeted at||Funding model|
|Active Worlds||Adults to create their own worlds for individual purposes||Free for general use
Subscribers pay for licence and server space
|Church of Fools||Ship of Fools||Anyone with a religious interest, initially for online services and currently for private reflection||Free for all users
Funded provided by the Methodist Church as well as private donations
|Club Penguin||Disney||Youngsters for games and socialising||Free to play
Subscribers pay for increased privileges (known as velvet rope model)
|Habbo|| Sulake Corp.
||Older children and teens, for community activities and socialising||Free to play
Inworld money and content can be purchased with credit card
|Olive||SAIC||Business customers desiring secure, private, customised virtual worlds.||Customers pay all costs for development and use|
| Second Life
||Linden Lab||Those aged sixteen and over, for any activity they choose||Free to play
Linden takes a cut of all inworld transactions through the currency exchange, also sells and ‘manages’ virtual land
Subscribers pay for increased privileges
|Whyville||Numedeon, Inc.||10–16 year olds for educational activity|
|World of Warcraft||Adults, for playing the WoW game||Monthly subscription|
In terms of the distinctions I drew in Session 1 between game, social and open worlds, where do you think the following worlds fit?
- World of Warcraft
- Second Life
- Club Penguin
- Church of Fools
You will probably find it easiest to refer back to Figure 6 and consider where each world would sit in the diagram.
Taking this image I edited it, adding the virtual worlds into the position I think best describes them, like so: