I was reading an article about YetAnotherVCFinancedVirtualWorld. Like so many others, it emphasized social networks hybridized with game play. It was a bit smarter in emphasizing entertainment instead of the virtual economy. It indicated why social bonding environments should be the focus.
I agree. But bowling isn't the most common social experience.
The social experience most common in most cultures and most amenable to immersion technologies is
Build Worlds of Worship (TM).
There is enormous potential. The business model isn't even difficult.
The problem of the metaverse mavens is like the early VRMLers, they are too fond of theory but not very good observers of the mundane or the extraordinarily common. Being overfocused on wealth they miss the opportunities for service from which follows a good life and a fair living.
Build churches not in Second Life (too much noise), but in privately hosted worlds financed by donations and sponsored by real world churches and organizations. Create a new generation of temples, synagogues, cathedrals and even the small wooden house of worship. Invite ministers, invite parishioners, invite the Pope. Be sure to make them every bit as formal and dramatic as the real worlds houses. Invest them with beautiful music, stirring sermons, lessons from life and even the private confessional. Give people places to pray.
See what difference it makes when the houses of the holy come to the wild wild web.