2008 predictions review

A year ago we made some predictions on virtual worlds from an Australian perspective, and it’s time to review them:

2008 – how did we go?

Prediction 1: Australia will see its first legal action in regards to a virtual world – Second Life is likely to be the battlefield and it’s likely to involve an intellectual property dispute or financial regulation issues.

Fail – there was no shortage of legal action internationally but Australia wasn’t front and centre in any of it.

Prediction 2: Second Life viability will remain under question – there’s not likely to be a sudden improvement in the technical issues confronting the platform. The reality for Australian users of Second Life is at least another 6 months of laggy virtual world experience. There’s been rumours of a deal between Linden Lab and Telstra to locate Second Life servers locally – we can only hope. Expect lots of negative mainstream and Second Life blogosphere press if the status quo remains.

Pass – things have remained pretty much unchanged in this regard, with no local servers likely.

Prediction 3: VastPark will flourish – we’ve covered the VastPark virtual world platform a few times and its evolution has been promising. If the platform delivers what it promises during 2008, much interest should be garnered. I wouldn’t be surprised to see VastPark acquired by one of the bigger players. Vastpark’s Australian operations make this one we’ll be watching closely.

Pass – VastPark is still in beta but has continued to flourish development-wise. It remains one of the stronger prospects in the market.

Prediction 4: Google will not launch a virtual world – they may have launched OpenSocial and continued to develop Google Earth but 2008 will not be the year of Google truly entering the virtual world domain.

Fail – Google Lively well and truly killed this prediction but didn’t survive long.


Prediction 5: There’ll be failures aplenty – World of Warcraft will remain the dominant gaming MMO and of the swathe of launches touted, some will obviously fail. Claims are being made about the Conan and Warhammer franchises making some serious inroads. I’m not convinced that either will be enormously successful although neither lack significant backing and associated marketing power. And it’s not as if Blizzard will be sitting on their hands – the Wrath of the Lich King expansion for World of Warcraft is on its way.

Pass – World of Warcraft maintained its dominance in gaming worlds. Age of Conan and Warhammer Online performed under expectations and the Wrath of the Lich King expansion sold very well.

Prediction 6: Australian business will remain conservative – 2007 saw the entrance of corporations like Telstra, the ABC and the REA Group into Second Life. I doubt there’ll be as many large presences launched in 2008. There’s still major skepticism out there about virtual worlds as a business tool – it remains only a research and development option in the eyes of business and 2008 is unlikely to change that. One disclaimer – if Google do launch a virtual world product, then all bets are off. On a related note – I predict Telstra’s SydSim development in Second Life will not cut the mustard for larger businesses and for those that do set up in that location, there’ll be consternation of how little traffic is generated.

Pass – no large business launches amongst ongoing conservatism. Telstra’s momentum continued, with fresh content and activities, although SydSim still struggles compared to other aspects of Telstra’s presence. The REA Group’s presence didn’t manage to gain significant traction and ABC Island has had some challenges but a dedicated, community-driven group continues to look at keeping things fresh.

Prediction 7: Mainstream media will continue to get it wrong – aside from some of the more savvy technology journalists, mainstream media reporting on virtual world developments will remain hit and miss. 2007 had some real clangers and you can expect that to continue.

Pass – this was always an easy prediction. Thankfully there weren’t stories as bad as the 2007 clanger from News Limited but there was still no shortage of misinformed reporting.

Five out of seven isn’t too bad. As always we’re keen to hear if you disagree on any of the points. Our 2009 predictions are on the way in the coming days.


  1. […] that we’ve reviewed our 2008 predictions, it’s on to 2009. For the coming year, we’re going to get a little bit more specific in […]

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