A new report by Strategy Analytics forecasts that over a BILLION users will be signing up to virtual worlds and massively multiplayer online worlds over the next decade.

The study, entitled "Market Forecasts for Virtual World Experiences," predicts that 22 per cent of global broadband users will sign up to at least one virtual world over the next 10 years.

“Despite a multitude of challenges, virtual worlds present a unique marketing opportunity to target a highly sought demographic, and virtual worlds should be part of a company’s marketing portfolio,” said Strategy Analytics president Harvey Cohen.

MMO game devs cheer

MMO game publishers will be rubbing their hands with glee at this news, as the report predicts an MMO service opportunity of some $8 billion.

"Numerous activities and forces are at work to help validate virtual worlds' value proposition and to overcome the many barriers to mass participation," adds Barry Gilbert, Vice President and Research Director.