As Virtual Worlds Management counts down to its Engage! Expo taking place between March 10 and11 in New York, the market research company found that more than US$594 million has been invested in 63 virtual worlds-related companies in 2008, with US$70.4 million of that investment being plowed into 19 kid/youth-targeted sites.
Notably, investment spending in virtual worlds was down considerably in 2008 from its 2007 peak of US$1.4 billion, but youth-oriented spend seems to be holding up. Most of the investment got doled out in the first and second quarter of 2008, as more kid-friendly virtual worlds started entering the market.
Executive director Christopher Sherman remarked that some investors are viewing the space as overcrowded, while others see it as an opportunity, since venture capitalists are still showing interest as third parties are looking to monetize youth-oriented virtual worlds either through advertising, payment methods or the sale of virtual goods. VWM found that five companies this past year looked to do just that and received US$64.7 million in investment.