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$148.5m invested in virtual worlds in Q3

Vast majority of investment goes towards youth-orientated MMOs

Virtual Worlds Management has revealed that venture capital and media firms have invested more than USD 148.5 million dollars in 12 virtual worlds companies during the third quarter of 2008.

The study shows that the total investment in the virtual worlds space this year is over USD 493 million, with all but USD 22.4 million going towards the entertainment sector to build youth-orientated MMOs.

"Many smaller investments were made across a spectrum of youth-oriented virtual worlds," explained Joey Seiler, editor of "USD 35.64 million was invested in seven virtual worlds aimed at kids through teens. That's up significantly from Q1's USD 16.03 million in eight youth virtual worlds and Q2, which saw no investment targeted at youth worlds."

These results were published just prior to the upcoming Virtual Worlds London conference which takes place over October 20-21.

"Even when the economy is taking a downturn, consumers still want to have fun. When a parent's choices are between USD 60 for a one-off, triple-A video game USD 10 for a two-hour movie, or a free-to-play virtual world for their children, it's clear there's still plenty of room to grow," said Christopher Sherman, executive director, Virtual Worlds Management.

This news coincides with comments made by Paul Sams, COO of Blizzard, who warned companies of the difficulty and cost involved in making an MMO, during his interview with

"The fact is that it's nightmarishly difficult to do," Sams said. "We've gotten a lot of black eyes along the way... and you're talking about people coming up with a few million dollars: a few million dollars in this business isn't going to get you anywhere."

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