A real-world bank office in a virtual world
Wells Fargo has launched their own private "Stagecoach Island" in the virtual world of Second Life. With the help of Swivel Media, a so-called "experential" marketing agency, Wells Fargo's Stagecoach Island aims to teach young adults how to handle their finances, presumably by using Wells Fargo's financial services.
Well Fargo's move into virtual space doesn't necessarily indicate that big business is taking game-like environments seriously--rather it shows that Linden Lab has successfully positioned its Second Life world as a viable marketing platform. With Second Life membership now free, however, it remains to be seen what the incentive of visiting a bank-sponsored virtual island might be. It certainly won't be cybersex.
Why do I blog this? even though this move is aimed at "teaching" young adults financial literacy, it's a very remarkable way to do it (by trying to 'enter' not only a market but a new kind of 'place'!). MMORPG now gets more and more services inside them.