- This is the project we've been keeping under wraps for a couple of weeks, and can now reveal - the CMP Game Group is delighted to announce the launch of online worlds blog WorldsInMotion.biz, a Game Developer Research-related venture that's going to look at where games, interaction, and multiplayer worlds meet online.

The weblog, which is being run by Gamasutra and GameSetWatch writer Leigh Alexander, has been set up because "...the staff at Game Developer Research will be launching multiple reports on the state and future of online worlds over the next few months." The blog will report on virtual worlds as we compile information on this increasingly important market.

So why does it matter? Isn't that Second Life awfully overhyped? What gamers care about those dinky little online play applications? Well, I think a recent Gamasutra interview with Raph Koster explains a lot of the reason why we should care, as follows:

"Consider the statistics. Webkinz, 2.5 million uniques in December; you buy a plush toy. Runescape: we still don't think of Runescape as being part of our industry, but it's probably the most popular MMO in the world, more popular than WoW. Toontown is up to more than 2.5 million uniques now. We never talk about Toontown because it's web deployed. Then of course there’s was Club Penguin, with 4.5 million uniques in December alone...When you compare the numbers, all of those are larger than the number two MMO in the western world, every single one of them. So yeah, I think people are missing something."

So we'll be covering the rapidly expanding area where games and online worlds interact, and we've also set up an Online World Atlas where we'll be profiling a lot of these Web apps that game industry folks may not be so familiar with.

What do they do? How do they work? So far we've looked at Club Penguin and at the longstanding Habbo Hotel (check out the Transformers ads in the 'Target Lounge' for an example of big brands at work there), and we'll be covering about two more worlds per week for as long as it takes to bring everyone up to date. Oh, and here's the WorldsInMotion.biz RSS feed, for the lazy.