MIS Quarterly Executive


Business opportunities provided by 3-D virtual worlds and “serious gaming” (adapting computer-gaming technology for business use) are beginning to emerge. The CIO membership of the Society for Information Management’s Advanced Practice Council (APC) commissioned research to track these opportunities and the management implications. Early experiments of virtual world and serious gaming applications fall into three categories—those that use social presence capabilities, those that use visualization capabilities and those that use simulation capabilities. This article discusses each of these categories, together with examples, and provides thoughts on other future applications. It also describes the APC’s own first-hand experience of developing SIMSIM, an “island” located in Second Life, one of the most popular virtual world platforms. Although the business promise of virtual worlds and serious gaming is largely in the future, the enabling technologies are maturing rapidly. Both the upside potential and downside risk of these platforms are too high for businesses to ignore. By 2018, virtual worlds and serious gaming will likely be major, even dominant, platforms for business applications and opportunities.