According to a press release issued today, Anshe Chung’s net worth (achieved through profits made entirely within a virtual world) have just reached the 1 Million US Dollar mark.
Limbering up for the formal press conference on Tuesday, Anshe dropped into TerraNova’s multiversal-uber-plex for an exclusive interview.
TN (RR): How long do you think the SL economy can sustain the level of growth that it has achieved thus far?
Anshe: I believe the real growth of SL economy will be sustained for very long time. At least until one strong competitor arrives, which I think is not likely soon. However, the "explosive growth" with 1.5 million accounts is a little bit of a misleading figure. Our own internal estimate of number of active paying users in SL agrees with Raph's estimate of about 100K. It seems the real growth of SL is about 100% every 6 months, which is still amazing. One must understand that people, once they are really immersed in Second Life and join those who are regular users, don't tend to get bored or to drop out, even not after years of use. This is fundamentally different from MMORPGs. While 90% of those who try SL don't understand it and drop out before they get immersed, those who do stay seem to stay forever. We really see the birth of one new medium, not simply yet another game that will go away.
TN (RR): Is SL now a closed shop where new people really only have the option of being customers?
Anshe: Definitely not. There are still plenty of opportunities. If you can innovate you can still get rich. You need do careful market research to find something not everybody else already does though, keeping in mind that once enough people compete at the same thing there is a price race to the bottom - and the "bottom" price in SL is set by freelancers in Indonesia and players who do things for free and for fun. Innovation and creativity however rule the Metaverse :-)
TN (RR): Was the business week cover actually good for your business?
Anshe: It was definitely good for Second Life and Rob Hof did an excellent job in the article explaing to people what Second Life really is. I have been very open and not hidden my business model or success story from the public, because I have consider it the right thing to do to accelerate the change and show people the opportunity :-)
TN (RR): You have gone for themed areas and language areas, are there Anshe communities within SL now it might be argued that creating sub-groups is bad for the overall community how do you think it helps?
Anshe: Diversity and choice makes places more interesting. Some communities, especially the German SL community, we have also grow directly by draw in people from outside.