Virtual Goods… the Movie

This past summer I’d mentioned a summit on virtual goods and linked to a TechCrunch article related to the panel, “Are Virtual Goods the Next Big Business Model?” (reLink). A video of that discussion, chaired by Susan Wu of Charles River Ventures, was posted shortly after the panel, and while I managed to watch the first few introductory minutes of it, I neither finished watching it nor returned to it. Until now, that is, after a reminder from a post on The Meshverse Journal (Link).

Consider the above highly-recommended viewing.

The only thing I want to mention at this time regarding this panel has to do with Ms. Wu’s query regarding the dearth of content developers entering this space. Those of you who’ve been reading this blog for a while know I’ve been especially interested in virtual product markets and related services/opportunities (such as “cyber-accessorizing“). You also are probably aware I’ve been disappointed in services such as Microsoft’s “Marketplace” or Sony’s Station Exchange.

It’s not that people like me don’t want to develop 3rd party content; it’s that the people running the show aren’t giving us many options to participate. There aren’t barriers to entry; generally speaking, there simply aren’t any entrances.

Anyway, what I didn’t realize was that the argument I presented in comments on Bruce Nussbaum’s BusinessWeek blog (Link) for opening up participation is essentially the one made by panelists discussing opening up applications and secondary markets: everyone wins.

Oh. And the opportunity virtual goods represent? Here’s a quote from Kevin Efrusy of Accel Partners, an early stage venture capital firm, that I believe does a fair job of qualifying it:

I made a trip to Korea a couple of years ago where one of the folks in the audience here was good enough to sorta show me around, and came back just absolutely blown away by what things like Nexon where doing and Cyworld were doing over there and sat Mark Zuckerberg down the moment I got back and said, “Where’s our virtual item strategy?”

So for the Industrial Designers out there, we’re very likely on the verge of being handed an opportunity closely related to our core activities. What’s your strategy? To stay safely below the glass ceiling?

Designers are always claiming they understand business and that they should have a greater voice in how things are done. Well? For those of you not involved in these emerging markets, where are your voices now?

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