Virtual Policy '08: A conference on innovation and governance in virtual worlds

Tuesday, 1 July, 2008


LONDON– 22nd&23rd July 2008 -“Virtual Policy‘08: A conference on innovation and governance in virtual worlds” will convene at the Department for Business, Enterprise&Regulatory Reform’s conference center in London, UK.

Virtual Policy‘08 is the first UK conference dedicated to the public policy implications of virtual worlds. Organized by the Virtual Policy Network (tVPN:, in conjunction with the Department for Business, Enterprise&Regulatory Reform (BERR), this landmark event will define the virtual world policy agenda for UK and Europe.

Invented at the UK’s University of Essex almost thirty years ago by Richard Bartle and Roy Trubshaw, virtual worlds are online spaces where people from around the globe get together to work, socialize and play. With World of Warcraft and Second Life hitting the headlines and worlds such as Habbo Hotel claiming over 90 million registered users, virtual worlds are an established cultural force.

Virtual Policy’08 will bring together industry, policy makers, and academics to examine the global implications of virtual worlds from a European perspective. The event will encompass the diversity of virtual worlds from kids spaces such as Habbo Hotel and Club Penguin; games such as World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings Online and Age of Conan; virtual spaces such as and Second Life; and the diversity of uses of virtual spaces from online gaming to brand promotion, virtual meetings, and online learning.

Taking this diversity into account, the key themes that the event will focus on are:

• Intellectual property rights– is there property in virtual worlds and who owns it?

• Financial transactions– tax, fraud&business models

• Kids online– industry best practice and the real issues in online spaces

• Education&Learning– new models and new tools for learning

• Governance frameworks– government vs governance who rules what?

• Innovation– business models, education, entertainment

Conference keynotes will be given by:

• Professor Richard Bartle - University of Essex, inventor of the first virtual world MUD and author of the book“Designing Virtual Worlds”

• Christian Renaud– CEO, Technology Intelligence Group

Conference speakers include:

• Jessica Mulligan– Virtual world industry veteran

• Dave Taylor– Imperial College, London

• Dr. Eyjólfur Guðmundsson– CCP / EvE Online (Iceland)

• David Naylor– Partner, Field Fisher Waterhouse

• Chris Francis– Government Programs, IBM

• Kerry Fraser-Robinson– President / MD, Red Bedlam

• Diane Carr– Institute of Education, London

• Dr Jim Purbrick– Linden Lab

• Leigh Jackson– Department of Business Enterprise and Regularity Reform

• Professor Bryan Camp - Texas Tech School of Law

• Dr Matthew Williams– Cardiff University, Crime&Justice Research Group

Ren Reynolds, founder of the Virtual Policy Network, says“This is the ideal time for a mature debate about the relationship between public policy and virtual worlds. Virtual Worlds are not new, having been invented in the UK almost 30 years ago, but today’s scale of use is unprecedented. With figures such as Habbo Hotel’s 90 million registered users and World of Warcraft establishes itself as a pastime for millions people around the world - virtual worlds are forcing themselves onto the policy agenda. This unique event will focus on the whole range of policy implications of this fascinating and rich global cultural phenomena”.

More information and conference tickets can be booked via:

For more information about this event contact:


the Virtual Policy Network (


the Virtual Policy Network (tVPN) is a think tank established to explore the policy implications of virtual worlds. tVPN generates local debates about virtual worlds and sets them in a global context by bringing together academics, industry and policy makers. tVPN has an expanding program of events and research projects covering all aspects of virtual worlds and public policy.

For more information contact:



The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform’s BERR’s central purpose is to help ensure business success in an increasingly competitive world. It is the voice for business across Government.

It leads the Government’s drive to raise UK levels of productivity, create the conditions for business success and strengthen the economic performance of all the regions.

BERR has the lead responsibility in Whitehall for championing the interests of employees– business’s most important asset. They are also responsible for policy on consumers, a vital force for dynamic competitive markets that drive business success. It is strongly committed to sustainable development.

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