Officials from virtual world firm Linden Lab have announced that the company has completed a new $11 million round of funding, led by venture capital firm Globespan Capital Partners.
The company last obtained $8 million in a previous round of funding in October 2004, with backing from Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos and Lotus founder Mitch Kapor, amongst others. The company intends to use the money to fund “aggressive international expansion” with German and Japanese language versions, and for additional hiring needed to boost its infrastructure from its current 70 employees to at least 100.
Massively multiplayer online (MMO) game Second Life
is free to play and allows users to create any kind of personalized clothing, vehicles, buildings and other objects, with the real-life equivalent costs being for virtual plots of land within the game or for buying in-game items and services. The game currently only has around 165,000 users, far less than the 6 million currently boosted by market leader World of WarCraft
, which is a much more hardcore-style monthly subscription title, compared to Second Life
's wider-aimed 'virtual world' setup.
Funding has been earmarked for improvements in the above areas, with the company also continuing its fellowship scheme
which CEO Philip Rosedale recently revealed at his summit keynote speech
at GDC now has 100 different research-oriented projects ongoing.