Wells Fargo is ramping up its virtual world efforts with Stagecoach Island. And we don’t mean that it’s “invested” in an island on Second Life. It’s launched a virtual world of its own. Though initially coming to life two years ago, it’s been completely revamped and relaunched, with a new attitude.
Some of the new features include the ability for users to buy virtual land and build homes. Yeah, yeah, that sounds just like Second Life. But let’s remember that this is a virtual world that’s being launched by a bank. That means you can get virtual mortgages, open virtual checking accounts, apply for virtual credit cards, and secure virtual jobs. You even have to pay virtual taxes. Wow.
It’s not all that surprising that there’s a virtual system for all these things. I mean, I’m a SIMS fanatic, and I’ve figured out some of the best ways to launch businesses (and turn a profit) and pass down property–without cheat codes. And anyone that’s slightly aware of Second Life knows the very real benefits of buying, selling and leasing property in the virtual world. What is (a tiny bit) surprising is that Stagecoach is being launched by a bank. And if you haven’t guessed by now, it’s a way to teach teens and young adults how to manage money in a more realistic manner (and gain some lifetime customers along the way).
So how will this actually pan out? Depending on how integrated Stagecoach is with actual Well Fargo bank accounts, it could be very effective, or very unethical in terms of business practices. Considering the fact that virtual/real money is somewhat of a hot commodity, I can’t be all that shocked by Stagecoach Island. There’s new currencies like Ukash popping up in Second Life, and I actually appreciate the life lessons being taught in Stagecoach and other networks like GirlSense.