Still dubious about whether virtual worlds can make for real businesses? The numbers may convince you otherwise.
According to a report out Tuesday from Virtual Worlds Management, the trade group that puts on the Virtual World conferences, a total of $184 million was invested in such businesses in the first quarter of 2008.
That money was spread across 23 companies, the report said.
The biggest investment listed in the report was $100 million from Temasek Holdings in a company called 9You, which is in the virtual-world and casual-games space.
Other notable investments included $7 million for EveryScape from a series of A-list investors and $6.5 million from DoCoMo Capital and NGI Group for Gizmoz, an avatar creation company.
However, the $184 million figure is far less than the $425 million invested in 15 companies in the fourth quarter of 2007 and the $1 billion invested in 35 virtual-world companies over the year prior to October 2007, according to previous Virtual Worlds Management studies.
Of course, the term "virtual worlds" itself is hard to define, and many of the companies in the space are actually building casual games. But overall, it seems clear that there are a lot of investors with serious money interested in the space and that can only be a good thing for the entrepreneurs gearing up to be the next Blizzard Entertainment or Sony Online Entertainment.