Posted by: Rob Hof on November 26, 2006
Anshe Chung, the virtual land baroness that I highlighted in my cover story earlier this year, My Virtual Life, has apparently become the first millionaire in Second Life. That’s millionaire in real U.S. dollars. Her real-world persona, Ailin Graef, figures her net worth based on her substantial in-world land holdings, cash in “Linden dollars,” which can be converted to real cash, as well as virtual shopping malls, store chains, and even virtual stock-market investments in Second Life businesses. As the release explains:
Anshe Chung’s achievement is all the more remarkable because the fortune was developed over a period of two and a half years from an initial investment of $9.95 for a Second Life account by Anshe’s creator, Ailin Graef. Anshe/Ailin achieved her fortune by beginning with small scale purchases of virtual real estate which she then subdivided and developed with landscaping and themed architectural builds for rental and resale. Her operations have since grown to include the development and sale of properties for large scale real world corporations, and have led to a real life “spin off” corporation called Anshe Chung Studios, which develops immersive 3D environments for applications ranging from education to business conferencing and product prototyping.
I relate this all with a straight face, but I still find it rather hard to believe that someone can become a millionaire through virtual-world creations. No fun and games, indeed.