As it is now, virtual worlds are being used by businesses mostly to sell products, rather than to take the place of LMSs. For example in Second Life, your avatar can test-drive a Toyota Scion or shop in a virtual American Apparel store. And not only does IBM use virtual worlds for LMS purposes like connecting employees to each other and to customers, but it has built a Circuit City and a Sears appliance store in Second Life as demonstration projects. But just how effective is in-world advertising in selling real products? The answer is unclear.
Sandy Kearney, director of IBM’s virtual worlds program, says “Based on the history of the internet, we think this is a stabilizing period for the 3D web.” Kearney predicts that just as new kinds of businesses–such as LMS and online courseware companies–were born on the web, new businesses will be created around the 3D web.
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