Around the Virtual World

A weekly wrap up of interesting news about virtual worlds, virtual goods and other social media.


Region’s Gaming Business Reaching New Levels

The Mario Brothers might not hail from here, and the Beltway isn’t home to Halo.
But the Washington area’s gaming industry is definitely growing.

Is the Future of Mobile Social Games Cross Platform Play? 

Recent headlines certainly suggest that mobile games will be developed for multiple mobile devices at once. OpenFeint creator Aurora Feint announced today that its mobile social network for games will soon support play across several mobile operating systems, VentureBeat reports.

Zynga Raising $500 Million at $10 Billion Valuation 

The fast-growing social gaming company, Zynga is close to completing a funding round of $500 million, valuing the company at $10 billion, said multiple sources. The round includes big institutional investors Morgan Stanley, T. Rowe Price, Fidelity Investments, as well as a token investment from existing venture investor Kleiner Perkins, in order to establish the huge valuation.

What Brands Can Learn From Taco Bell’s Social Media Lawsuit Defense

When it comes to high profile lawsuits, it’s often been the plaintiff’s use of social media that makes headlines and wins those ever-important battles in the Court of Public Opinion.

“Virtual Iraq” Helps Soldiers Overcome PTSD

A new study in The Journal of Traumatic Stress reveals the promise of virtual reality exposure therapy for soldiers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. After just seven sessions,
soldiers reported reductions in their post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms,
and almost two thirds of the soldiers found the change to be reliable and meaningful.

Qualcomm Has High Hopes for Augmented Reality Gaming

Qualcomm is demonstrating a number of augmented-reality games for Android-based smartphones at Mobile World Congress. The games were developed using its AR SDK software development kit.

Virtual Reality is Worth Real Money in Healthcare

The market for products that rely on virtual reality (VR)–including robot-assisted surgery, medical data visualization, education and training, and rehabilitation and therapy–was worth $670 million in 2010, according to a Kalorama Information report.