The Next Massively Entertaining Idea
The Investor: Bill Gurley, general partner, Benchmark Capital
What he's backed: Linden Lab, Shopping.com, Zillow.com
What he wants now: The next massively multiplayer online hit, whether it's
built around a core game like World of Warcraft or a virtual community like
Neopets. "Anything," Gurley says, "where people are entertained massively
together." Benchmark has placed some big bets in the MMO sector, including
Linden Lab, maker of Second Life, and Sulake, which runs Habbo Hotel, a game
site geared for teens. "I think we're far from finished in this space,"
Gurley says. "There is a lot of room for new ideas going after different
areas of interest."
Gurley will not hazard a guess on what demographic could be ripe for the
next MMO hit. "These things are like catching lightning in a bottle," he
says. "There's an element of game design and social curiosity that you have
to get just right."
What he'll invest: $5 million for a working game or site that shows MMO
growth potential. "It's so hard to predict what will take off," Gurley says,
"that it's easier to pay more for something that's further along."
Anybody want to hire me? I came up with two ideas in the time it took me to blog this. Oh well.