Business Week writes:
Second Life is one of the many so-called massively multiplayer online games that are booming in popularity these days. Because thousands of people can play at once, they’re fundamentally different from traditional computer games in which one or two people play on one PC. In these games, typified by the current No. 1 seller, World of Warcraft, from Vivendi Universal’s (V ) Blizzard Entertainment unit, players are actors such as warriors, miners, or hunters in an endless medieval-style quest for virtual gold and power.
All told, at least 10 million people pay $15 and up a month to play these games, and maybe 20 million more log in once in a while. Some players call World of Warcraft “the new golf,” as young colleagues and business partners gather online to slay orcs instead of gathering on the green to hack away at little white balls. Says eBay Inc. founder and Chairman Pierre M. Omidyar, whose investing group, Omidyar Network, is a Linden Lab backer: “This generation that grew up on video games is blurring the lines between games and real life.”