I've posted before about the blurring of physical and online worlds, in respect to Second Life. It appears that the blurring is getting more blurred (I hope I'm not blurring the point!).
In this recent Wired article it discusses how some people are quitting their day jobs to sell virtual items full-time in Second Life. A fascinating article - extracts:
"Artists and designers, landowners and currency speculators, are turning the virtual environment of Second Life into a real-world profit center.
"It's not just a game anymore," said online artisan Kimberly Rufer-Bach. "There are businesses, nonprofits and universities" taking advantage of the online world.
With users now numbering over 130,000, game-maker Linden Lab estimates that nearly $5 million dollars, or about $38 per person, was exchanged between players in January 2006 alone. Working in Second Life is "the same as working in London and sending money home to pay the rent for your spouse," said company CEO Philip Rosedale.
Just ask Rufer-Bach, known in Second Life as Kim Anubus, who works full time making virtual objects for real-life organizations. In a recent contract with the UC Davis Medical Center, Rufer-Bach created virtual clinics in Second Life to train emergency workers who might be called upon to rapidly set up medical facilities in a national crisis. The work is funded by the Centers for Disease Control. "In the event of a biological attack … the CDC have to set up emergency 12-hour push sites, to distribute antibiotics," said Rufer-Bach."