HG Biz Plan: Virtual fishing

The premise: I believe that we’re about to see the massive growth of a metaverse in which people can easily travel from one public world to another. Over time, the technology will become increasingly easy to use and realistic — and we will see an explosion of companies offering products and services in this metaverse.  My team and I have been brainstorming some ideas of what these products and services will look like.

Ice fishing. (Location courtesy Linda Kellie.)

The business

Customers hypergrid teleport into a private fishing grid. There are regular fishing tournaments where enthusiasts can compete to catch the most fish or the biggest fish. When tournaments are not in sessions, they can practice fishing on a number of scenic lakes and rivers. The virtual fish run on custom scripting commands available only on this grid, which make the fish as realistic as possible. Fishermen can have their fish mounted to take with them, or put them in acquariums on their home grids, or release them back into the wild. It will take a lot of scripts to automate the fish, but OpenSim’s new Distributed Scene Graph will allow grid owners to bring in additional servers to handle the extra scripting load.

The revenue streams

In addition to tournament entry fees, grid owners can also make money by selling fishing licenses, fishing equipment and accessories, flies and bait, aquariums, and clothing. Outside merchants can rent space for stores or clubs. Companies can rent smaller copies of the grid for private functions. Grid owners can also rent our residential islands for those who want to spend more time in the world, with permanent residents getting discounts on fishing licenses or equipment or tournament entry fees.

Scalability

As the number of visitors grows, the company can add additional fishing spots, or duplicate existing areas in advance of big events. To keep customers coming back, new areas can be added on a regular basis — ice fishing, mountain streams, deep seas, coral reefs, rainforest rivers, and so on.

Competitive advantage

If the premise is successful, copycats will appear offering similar fishing destinations, or variations on the theme, such as hunting. The first company will have a lead in name recognition, and development lead time. For example, the company could spend a couple of years developing a realistic fishing simulation, modeling behavior of fish and insects in the virtual biosphere, then launch when viewer technology is good enough to make the experience accessible and enjoyable. A sufficiently advanced product will force competitors to postpone their launches until they’re comparable — or launch quickly but with inferior platforms.

Risks

As with any game, competitors can easily come and steal design ideas, and reverse-engineer the logic behind fish behavior and game functionality.

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maria@hypergridbusiness.com'

Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. She has been a journalist for more than twenty years and has worked for the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and Computerworld and has reported from over a dozen countries, including Russia and China.

  • i had a great guy on my SL estate that ran a nice fishing tournament thing for over a year. he always had great attendance and made enough for his tiers and some fish and chips irl (he’s from the UK)

    there’s quite a well developed fishing community inSL (i think it uses SevenSeas content)

  • Sarge Misift

    I agree that we are going to see some major growth in the metaverse as well, Maria. I think we will see a blossoming of businesses that have their RL equivalents. But we will also see businesses that are impossible in RL.

    How about an inter-grid cruise line? All it would take is someone figuring out how to fly vessels/vehicles from one grid to another.

  • Hi Maria,
    Ener… Ener?… was I that “great guy” lol… I had a small lake for competition fishing on one of your regions in SL a couple of years back.

    Anyway, I have always loved the possibilities of virtual fishing, as I fish in rl… The lake I had at Eners sim was scripted with an “off the shelf” game in SL, but would love to script my own if I had those skills.

    Being a rl angler I know I could make it realistic, something that SL fishing attempts have never managed I feel.

    A nice idea would be to run a multi-user/Sim on a stick, as a virtual fishing club, linked to it’s own dedicated website, with record fish lists, competitions, opening times etc… Being just a humble builder, my skills run short of compiling the code, but hey if anybody has any thoughts, just let me know.

    Thanks all
    Geoff Quinnell