Corporate Use of Virtual Worlds

 Even though virtual worlds are a fun place to hang out, they’re still not and effective business tool

New research from Gartner finds that nine out of 10 corporate attempts to use virtual worlds fail within the first 18 months. Virtual worlds could still play a vital role, however, in the future.

Corporate virtual world projects often fail because they were launched for the wrong reasons—for the cool factor, or simply to keep up with competitors. But the biggest stumbling block may be a fundamental lack of understanding as to why virtual worlds stand apart from the 2-D Internet.

“Virtual worlds mark the transition from Web pages to Web places, and a successful virtual presence starts with people, not physics,” said Gartner vice president Steve Prentice, in a statement. “Realistic graphics and physical behavior count for little unless the presence is valued by and engaging to a large audience.”

Gartner projects that 70% of organizations will develop a private internal virtual world by 2012.