For the last 18 months, Second Life users have made 15 billion minutes
of voice calls offered free in the virtual world. Now, the company behind Second Life, Linden Lab, intends to monetize on this high demand for inworld voice communication.
AvaLine, a new premium VoIP service whereby Second Life users get an inworld phone number through which they can be contacted by any real-world phone, is launched in beta. Over 50 percent of Second Life users use voice for communication in the virtual world. Most of them are educators and business people. Linden Lab has in fact launched a new line of communication services
along with AvaLine. According to them, calling in Second Life can become to competitor to Skype
in the future. But comparing the difference in momentum and number of users between Second Life and Skype, and the fact that one is virtual and one real, I see that future is nowhere near tomorrow.