If you’ve been exposed to any recent media hype surrounding Second Life, you may have concluded that Linden Lab’s virtual world is an unstoppable force.
Second Life signups have accelerated to nearly half a million per month. Linden founder Philip Rosedale seems to be everywhere at once (although that may just be his Avatar). And SL celebrity Anshe Chung has become a household name (at least for readers of Business Week).
With so much momentum and positive press, what could possibly go wrong?
Oh, I don’t know, maybe something like a Federal investigation into online gambling in virtual casinos.
Of all of the vices in the Metaverse, some translate better than others. Virtual drugs don’t work particularly well — unless you count Second Life itself as a drug. On the other hand, virtual prostitution, as creepy as it seems, apparently works for a few people who can get past the possibility that their virtual playmate might actually be a grizzled construction worker in Peoria.
Virtual gambling, on the other hand, is a perfect match for this virtual world.
Online gambling is a well-established industry. However, for many, the added social element of a virtual reality world is a significant improvement over watching 2-D cards dealt onto a flat green poker table.