Posted by Allison on 1 April 2009, 16:15
Gone are the days when games were just games and they were only played by kids. Nowadays you can actually earn a fortune by playing them – if you know what you are doing.
The online universe called Second Life consists of millions of residents who live through avatars on screen. They can interact with other people masquerading as other avatars, and while calling it a game isn't really doing it justice, it is the place where one woman has made it to millionaire status in recent months.
Just as with our everyday lives, the Second Life universe has its own currency. While this isn't related to any real world currency you might find – and it certainly isn't listed on any currency converter on any regular sites – it does have an exchange rate pegged to the US dollar, and Linden dollars exchange hands every day over and over again.
So how did this woman manage to become a real millionaire through her interaction with this online community?
To find out the story of Anshe Chung (the name of her avatar, not her real one, as she has decided to remain understandably private), it is necessary to understand how Second Life works. The one thing that will strike you if you aren't already a member is that it has striking similarities with how you can make money in real life.
Anshe's secret – if it is one – lies in real estate. But instead of buying it in the real world she buys it in the Second Life world, before building on it and renting it to other people. You can find out more about her success in the Business Week article which can be found at http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_18/b3982001.htm, as well as visiting her website at http://www.anshechung.com/include/press/press_release251106.html. It is a fascinating story, and one that is well worth the read.
So could you follow in her footsteps?
Well there is no doubt that while she is clearly the highest earning person on the site, she isn't the only one making a full time income from it. You only need to go to this page on the Second Life website - http://secondlife.com/whatis/businesses.php - to see just how many people there are in various different walks of life and businesses, all making a living from Linden dollars. And because those dollars can be exchanged for real life dollars (and then into your own currency if you wish), there is every chance that you could indeed build a business in a virtual world that has benefits in our real one as well.
It's certainly a fascinating concept that has clearly caught on with a lot of people. There is no doubt that some become members just to have fun and explore the site, but the fact that you can also make money from it and let your entrepreneurial skills run rampant is very attractive for a lot of other people as well.
Perhaps it is the fact that you can do things on the site that you may not be able to do in real life that makes it so attractive – as well as the fact that you can look however you want to and call yourself by a different name too!
What could be more enticing than that?