See how innovative technologies evolve over time to better understand how things like virtual worlds enter the market and the cycle they go through. Gartner’s Hype Cycle provides a graphic representation of the maturity and adoption of technologies and applications, and how they are potentially relevant to solving real business problems and exploiting new opportunities. You can see below that “Public Virtual Worlds” are in the Trough of Disillusionment in 2012 and starting up the Slope of Enlightenment.
Here is a comparison of the Hype Cycle from 2006-2010 to provide a look at how emerging technologies move over time: http://www.mkbergman.com/wp-content/themes/ai3/images/2011Posts/110117_GartnerHype_compare.png with Public Virtual Worlds in 2006 (then as part of Web 2.0) being at the “Peak of Inflated Expectations” when people thought they could do everything (much like the assumptions of the iPad and other technologies). Then in 2008-2010, we see “Public Virtual Worlds” emerge and move down the “Trough of Disillusionment” as people start to realize that they can’t do “everything” but can do some specific things rather well. The latest report shows them in 2012 about to start up the “Slope of Enlightenment” as the potential for use is more fully realized. This methodology gives you a view of how a technology or application will evolve over time, providing a sound source of insight to manage its deployment within the context of your specific goals.
See this site for more information on the Hype Cycle and the timelines between the phases: http://www.gartner.com/technology/research/methodologies/hype-cycle.jsp