Sunday, June 25, 2006

Intelligent clothes - gimmick or market trend? - and virtual real estate takes off

So i-pod is selling an add-on for Nike, allowing runners to see output on the i-pod generated from the electronics in their trainers.  Gap is selling a hooded garment with speakers in the hood itself…. And the there is virtual real estate itself.

Some of these are fads and others are for real.

OK so the market for digitally enhanced clothing is small and likely to remain modest, but gaming is a whole new story.  According to Catherine Smith, Linden Lab (owner's of Second Life) director of marketing, "In January of 2006, Second Life residents exchanged $1,384,752,765 in-world 'Linden' dollars, or over $5 million U.S. dollars.

“If you haven't heard of Anshe Chung yet — you will. She's a "real" estate agent... but not your ordinary "real" estate agent. She's not real, at least not in the flesh and blood sense. She's merely the online avatar for a Chinese-born language teacher living near Frankfurt, Germany. But her virtual business is very real.  Second Life members pay "Linden dollars" (the in-game currency) to rent or buy virtual homes from Chung. However, Lifers can convert that "play money" into real U.S. dollars by using their credit card at online currency exchanges. Today Chung's firm currently has about $250,000 U.S. dollars worth of virtual land and currency holdings.”




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