Gaming and social media are on a collision course, the result of which will be mainstream popularity of virtual worlds primarily driven by user-generated content (UGC) and anchored in small groups and one-to-one interactions.
Games targeting core gamers will remain a thriving market, and social apps centered on broadcasting content will remain popular for photo sharing and news tracking. However, a lot of our daily online social interaction will shift to multiverse virtual worlds where avatars mark our presence, we own digital goods, earn money from our contributions to the world and gain a deeper sense of community than other types of online interactions.
(This is part three of a seven-part series about virtual worlds.)
Most people will participate in multiple virtual worlds depending on their mood, personality and social circle. A half dozen worlds will be particularly popular but there will be many niche ones. Some may require that you use your real identity (or at least the name on your Facebook account) but most will not.
These worlds don’t have to remain tied to the norms of our physical world — they can be imaginative realms with different physics. Some worlds may strive to look photorealistic while others will go for artistic distinction. Rules, cultural norms, economic models, and user controls will vary. Some worlds will be oriented around war and conflict, others will be oriented around peaceful commerce and participation in a tranquil society, and still others will take an educational focus looking to simulate areas of Earth for closer study.