Monday, February 27, 2012

Business in a Virtual World

Dear Mr. Bloomfield,

Because I am an accounting major in the Business School and I focus on business strategies in many of my classes, this article really caught my attention from the beginning.  Since I have been exposed to Second Life, I have come to the realization that it is not all about entertainment.  For me, at this point in my life and because I am not really interested in Second Life, it is for school work and I guess some entertainment.  However, in your article you explain how Second Life and many of these virtual worlds can be used for business complexity and the expansion of its existence.  What I 100% agree with is your take on the abilities that virtual worlds give out for users.  You first explain that virtual worlds can have real economies.  This is definitely a positive aspect of virtual worlds because it actually allows users to sell, buy and exchange products from business to business or store to store.  The money can be converted into real money and the cycle goes on.  You continue to infer that virtual worlds advocate business reporting.  This is beneficial because it allows students to learn the methods of business and the systems such as SAP and Hyperion, and twist these systems into a electronically feasible access system in virtual worlds.  I especially like this area of the article because it shows that students can learn and benefit from these virtual worlds by actually putting their own two cents into the mix rather than just benefitting from what is already there.  Next, you mention that virtual worlds support interaction and innovation.  With virtual worlds becoming an up and rising theme in our world today, they definitely leave us with the ability to interact with other users and make connections with these users every time we sign onto the system.  Because the virtual worlds are expanding, it leaves room for innovation because many users are curious as to what else is out there and what they can discover in a virtual world.  If these systems continue to expand, virtual worlds can be identical to real world scenarios in that things from religion to medicine to science can be tested and performed.  Lastly, you mention that virtual worlds provide us with a universal platform.  Any user of these virtual worlds can most likely connect with others across the world.  This leaves great room for connectivity, education, and experience based on different cultural and ideological backgrounds. 

In addition, I feel that your distinction between persistent virutal worlds and bounded virtual worlds is very important.  I definitely feel that a program such as Second Life is persistent in that it never ends and the world still continues to go on even if you are not signed on.  On the other hand, I feel that a "game" can fit into the bounded category, because it stays the same until you are in control of your character again.  What I feel is the main difference between a game (such as a video game) and a virtual world program such as Second Life is that a game has a beginning and an end.  You play a game for one reason and that is to beat it.  Rather in programs such as Second Life and the virtual world that it provides, there is no ending really.  You are not there to beat the system or to win against another opponent; rather, you are there to create, explore, interact, connect, and learn.  These both provide humans with completely different tasks but are both beneficial to the mind. 

All in all, I feel that virtual worlds can definitely be beneficial for the business world.  Virtual worlds provide alot of room for expansion and experiments.  One can experiment the way a business works in a virtual world and then expand this business into real life.  One can also run much of their business through these virtual worlds -- especially if it is a global business.  These businesses would force workers to learn and be more innovative in their strategies which can enhance one's knowledge in their present and future jobs. 

Thank you,
Loralyn Sortino

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