I spotted on Steve Rubel’s blog that US clothes retailer American Apparel is opening a store in Second Life – the massive online roleplaying game that currently boasts almost 300,000 residents.
Second Life has been at the centre of a media frenzy for a while. The main reason people are so interested in its effects on business is because its currency – Linden dollars – can be exchanged (on LindeX – the game’s currency exchange or a host of other third-part sites) for real US dollars at a rate of L$300 to US$1.
Recently, even the BBC got involved by simulcasting its live Big Weekend roadshow in Second Life, including the chance for visitors to ‘meet’ with the DJs. There is also talk of the BBC building a replica of its Maida Vale studios inside the game.
Interestingly, some Second Life businesses have been doing so well – particularly those selling clothes for your avatar (or online character) – that there have been stories of entire companies being formed in the real world just to operate them. In other words, these online businesses – which are opening branches in Second Life – have been forced to move their administration back to the real world.
So, if offshoring can transcend dimensions, what about outsourcing to virtual reality?