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What is a scripting language, and why do virtual worlds need one?

Where Facebook and social networks are for keeping up with friends, virtual worlds are more like the traditional MMOs, they’re about having fun and making new friends.

The difference between a massively multiplayer game like World of Warcraft and a casual world like Club Penguin is that players either can’t or don’t want to spend their time leveling up. Casual worlds pull back those traditional MMO dynamics in order to create a game anyone can play.

As casual world developers since 1999 we’ve found that while virtual worlds are accessible to everyone, by removing those traditional MMO game dynamics we loose the addiction and immersion characterized by titles like World of Warcraft.

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How do virtual worlds make money, how big is the market, and how much do they make?

We like to think of virtual worlds as interactive cartoons; a cartoon where the player is the hero and can change the ending. But, unlike cartoons, virtual worlds do not depend on advertising, in fact, many of the most popular and profitable worlds have no advertising at all.

Virtual worlds are described as ‘freemium’ businesses; its free to play with subscription for premium services. These premium services might include access to a wider range of clothes for their avatar, a private customizable chat room, VIP areas, or new games.

Subscriptions are great because their simple; a single monthly fee gives access to all the features. However, converting a free player into a subscriber must first go through the parent; the child must convince their parent to put a recurring bill onto their credit card. We all know how easy it is to leave recurring bills on our credit card, and so we have a conscious resistance to signing up in the first place.

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