Friday, March 31, 2006

Profile of a virtual real estate mogul

Anshe Chung is a 33-year-old Chinese woman living in Germany. She teaches English, Chinese and German. She also makes a fortune selling real estate, but not by selling your ordinary German townhouses. Instead, she's the most successful land owner and real estate mogul in Second Life, a virtual world not totally unlike the MMORPG games more popular with video gamers.

She's reportedly earning more than $150K annually selling virtual real estate. That's real money, not play money. Her real estate company employs between 10 and 20 people at any given time and is paying taxes on the income earned in Second Life.

Anshe says she started playing Second Life trying to find out how real virtual reality can become. She quickly found the feelings experienced while playing are very real. In addition she noticed people making money by selling land, and decided to get into business herself. She runs her virtual business like a real business, which appears to be why she's been so wildly successful at it.

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Good of Games

Andy at has written an excellent paper on the various positive aspects of modern games.

His paper touches on multiple issues, which include:
  • games have been a part of society from the times of ancient Egypt
  • games increase several cognitive skills of gamers
  • gamers make good employees and have better than average computer skills
  • exer-gaming is a great motivational tool to encourage exercising
  • games are invaluable training aids in many areas
  • games encourage learning
Andy's paper is a great summary of everything The Pixelantes stands for. It's a must read for anyone interested in covering video games/gaming from all angles instead of just feeding the masses with alarmist soundbytes from self-proclaimed experts.

Thank you for your article, Andy!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Oregon State prisons using video games to curb violence between inmates

In 1996 Oregon State Department of Corrections launched an incentive program that would pay inmates with credits in their accounts at the canteen. In 2003 the program was expanded to allow inmates with 6 months of good behaviour to use the credits to purchase their own TVs in their cells.

Recently the Oregon State Department of Corrections expanded the incentive program to allow inmates with 18 months of good behavior to purchase an all-in-one gaming device by dreamGEAR. The $35 gaming device includes 50 video games from the 80s. Apparently it is very popular with the inmantes.

The incentive program appears to be working as violent incidents in Oregon State prisons are down since 2003 despite the prison population getting larger.

Adults play more video games than teens

A recent study by The Consumer Eletrconics Association (CEA) found out that adult Americans play more video games than teens.

The study found out that one third of adults spend 10 hours or more per week playing video games compared to just 11 percent of teens.

Not surprisingly CEA concludes this presents the consumer electronics retailers with a huge opportunity as adult gamers are more likely to buy additional audio/video equipment to enhance their gaming experience than teens.

The study is yet another datapoint showing gamers as an increasingly affluent and influential demographic group.