Dear Joe Sanchez,
Chapter 2, A Social History of Virtual Worlds was quite interesting and probably beneficial (for my class) to read. I never knew the complexity of the history of virtual worlds. It amazes me that while MUDs were completely text based, there were still a base of players that played it. TinyMUDs is essentially the precursor for what we are using today for our class, Second Life. I believe adding the creative and social elements really expanded the future for these types of worlds. They were no longer a game or an adventure but a mere mirror of real life.
I find it very interesting how EverQuest used their players a type of free marketing. I am not sure if this was intentional or not. In the chapter, you explain that EverQuest required a team of the same people to play and succeed in the game. If a group lost a player, they usually recruited a new player from their real life friends. This is very interesting to me since EverQuest required a subscription for users to play. In essence, the teams that recruited new members from their actual friends were a free marketing tool.
Although the development of these technologies was a bit slow at first, it seems as though they are now evolving faster than ever. Second Life, which was established in 2003, now has over 15 million users. However I am unsure of how many “active” users there are. Many times people sign up for a particular website and find themselves using it once and never again. This may be true for Second Life in particular because there is no commitment to sign up (monthly subscription or initial purchase).
Technologies that started as a simple way to entertain people have become a massive market. Some users and companies are now using these technologies for real life work. For example some companies whose members are geographically dispersed may use second life as a way to collaborate but to also give a sense of being together as a group. The evolution of these virtual worlds is fascinating and I am interested in seeing what this means for our future and the future of virtual worlds.