I found your article highlighting the IBM case study to be a very interesting and eye-opening read. It is becoming more and more obvious that virtual worlds can play significant roles in the world of real life business. The case study on IBM was the first I have heard of a company utilizing virtual worlds so such an extreme extent, but at the same time it did not surprise me. The potential has been there, it was only a matter of time before a company was brave enough to step up and jump at the opportunity. I think all big businesses should look at what IBM has done and consider the costs and benefits of following in their footsteps. The fact that the virtual event saved IBM $320,000 is a startling fact in itself, but I think the more important thing to key in on here is how receptive the participants were to the idea. Everyone who took place in the event loved it, and it was even found that many people stayed later than required to continue conversing with others. The fact that the event was such a hit has important implications for the future in terms of other companies adopting this method and seeing just how far they can utilize these virtual worlds.
Edward Castranova's article sheds a different light on the usage of virtual worlds. He does not argue one way or the other; rather he present information that is meant to open the eyes of the reader to the effects that virtual worlds on having in real life. They are essentially beginning to take over and become the normal way of life. More time spent in the virtual worlds means less time spent interacting with real people face to face. Many things are becoming more impersonal and Castranova uses extreme examples, such as the people in Korea who have not left home in two years, to illustrate how virtual life can take over a person.