Gartner identified five laws for companies participating in the virtual world
April 25th, 2007

Gartner Says 80 Percent of Active Internet Users Will Have A “Second Life” in the Virtual World by the End of 2011.

Gartner’s advice to enterprise clients is that this is a trend that they should investigate and experiment with, but limit substantial financial investments until the environments stabilize and mature.

“The collaborative and community-related aspects of these environments will dominate in the future, and significant transaction-based commercial opportunities will be limited to niche areas, which have yet to be clearly identified,” said Steve Prentice, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “However, the majority of active Internet users and major enterprises will find value in participating in this area in the coming years.”

Meaningful corporate use of public virtual worlds/platforms will lag considerably behind individual consumer use as enterprises struggle to develop appropriate and relevant business models. As enterprise try to define their role in the virtual world, Gartner has identified five laws for companies participating in the virtual world.

First Law: Virtual worlds are not games, but neither are they a parallel universe (yet). Second Law: Behind every avatar is a real person.
Third Law: Be relevant and add value. Many commercial companies have established a virtual world presence, but none have converted it into an effective, profitable sales channel. Fourth Law: Understand and contain the downside. Enterprises face serious questions, such as “Could activities in the virtual world undermine or influence my organization/brand in the real world?” Fifth Law: This is a long haul. Today’s multiplicity of virtual environments has developed through the convergence of social networking, simulation and online gaming. There are many new entrants, whose stability and scalability are not yet established.

Gartner recommends that enterprises should experiment with virtual worlds, but not plan massive projects, and look for community benefits rather than commerce.

read more of this Business Wire Press Release in Forbes


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