Nearly $600 million in VC for virtual worlds

Companies behind virtual worlds garnered more than $594 million in venture investments in 2008, according to a new report.

Dave Rosenberg Co-founder, MuleSource
Dave Rosenberg has more than 15 years of technology and marketing experience that spans from Bell Labs to startup IPOs to open-source and cloud software companies. He is CEO and founder of Nodeable, co-founder of MuleSoft, and managing director for Hardy Way. He is an adviser to DataStax, IT Database, and Puppet Labs.
Dave Rosenberg

Virtual world and supporting companies raised more than $594 million in 2008, according to a new report from Virtual Worlds Management.

While this represents a small portion of total venture dollars, there are some large deals ($100 million and $70 million), as well as ones typical of early-stage companies ($500,000 to $4 million).

I'm not sure why it takes so much money to build these popular virtual worlds, but it seems that investors still have an appetite to provide money. The fourth quarter saw $101 million in investment, with Gofish, Playfish, and Playspan grabbing $22.5 million, $17 million, and $16 million, respectively.

The biggest virtual-world investments of '08:

  • 9You (China): $100 million
  • Realtime Worlds: $50 million
  • Turbine: $40 million
  • Trion: $70 million

Those are some pretty significant bets from the investment community. It will be interesting to see how this pans out in light of the decrease in consumer spending.

As a side note, if anyone can explain why all these virtual-world companies have the word "fish" (Playfish, Gofish, TwoFish) in them, I would appreciate it. Hit me on Twitter @daveofdoom.