For those that lament the plethora of crappy MMOs and poorly-planned 'virtual worlds' of various stripes — fear not, a new report indicates that 90% are doomed to failure within a year and a half. Gartner, the research and advisory firm that produced the report, notes that the high rate of failure could be due to a number of factors; perhaps most importantly, the low cost of entry means that more experimentation is taking place (and like any experiment, a lot of virtual experiments fail). But it's not all doom and gloom:
... Gartner's analysis isn't nearly as dire as its headline. Gartner notes that throughout the process lessons have been learned, many of the attempts were relatively low-cost experiments, and there's still plenty of opportunity. "Businesses have learned some hard lessons," Steve Prentice, vice president and fellow at Gartner, said in a statement. "They need to realise that virtual worlds mark the transition from web pages to web places and a successful virtual presence starts with people, not physics. Realistic graphics and physical behaviour count for little unless the presence is valued by and engaging to a large audience."
The end of the report also has a reasonably sunny prediction: "By 2012, Gartner estimates that 70 per cent of organisations will have established their own private virtual worlds and predicts that these internal worlds will have greater success due to lower expectations, clearer objectives and better constraints." That could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your perspective.