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IMVU, Inc. is an online social entertainment website founded in 2004, in which members use 3D avatars to meet new people, chat, create, and play games. With over 50 million registered users. And currently has the largest virtual goods catalog of more than 6 million items. The business is located in Mountain View, California. And currently has 120 full-time employees. It is also known as one of the leading practitioners of the Lean Startup approach.
The company name "IMVU" is neither an acronym nor an initialism. IMVU co-founder Eric Ries described the accidental process by which the company acquired its meaningless name, and stated "It's not an acronym; it doesn't stand for anything".
A primary focus of IMVU is its member-developed content. Members who purchase a VIP can become "Content Creators", whereby they can create and sell virtual products. Developers have access to the IMVU software 'Create Mode' located in the 3D client itself. Content creators may use programs such as 3ds Max, Sketchup, or Blender to create IMVU's 3D assets. If content creators leave their products as 'derivable', other creators can change the texture mapping and turn it into a brand new product.
Each product has pairs of jpeg images. They are preferred to be sized to a combination of pixel width/height of 32, 64, 128, 256, 512. One image is the image,the other is the opacity. If the opacity is left blank then the program automatically assumes it is totally white. The opacity is a gray scale version of the texture. The regions colored white are shown on the item, gray gives an transparent effect, and black the texture is not shown. The black opacity combined with the 'skin' option allows regions of a clothes mesh to be replaced by the avatar skin allowing infinite variations of the same dress mesh.
Some content creators design derivitive works. Effectively they do not make the original meshes but specialize in re-texturing other meshes. Other creators make original meshes for others to specifically texture. While some do both the meshing and texturing.
IMVU contains its own economy with a currency system based on IMVU "credits" and "promotional credits." A third form of currency also exists for members who sell custom-made items, "developer tokens," which are earned when a user purchases an item with "promo credits," also known as "predits." Credits can be purchased online using actual currency either directly from IMVU or from third party resellers. Credits may also be purchased on IMVU gift cards available from retail outlets such as department stores. Credits may not be transferred back from IMVU to actual currency but can be sold to registered resellers who will purchase them for real-world currency. The credits are used by members to purchase virtual items like fashion pieces (hair, clothes, skins, and accessories), pets, and 3D scenes such as homes, clubs and open landscapes. Furniture can also be purchased the same way and placed into unlocked rooms, but there are also rooms that have some furniture included in them as well as locked rooms that include furniture that can not be removed.
Promotional credits, abbreviated to "promo-credits" or "predits," are a second form of currency distributed to members by IMVU and can be obtained by participating in various "Partner" promotions as well as a few activities the IMVU provides. With relation to a standard free or full member, promo-credits are similar to standard credits. A given number of credits equates, promo-credits cannot be used to purchase items as gifts for other members and may not be traded back to an IMVU reseller for actual currency. Promo-credits used to purchase a virtual product are exchanged into "Developer Tokens," also known as "Dev Tokens." The purchase transfers the Predits into Dev Tokens but nets a single developer token per purchase when predits are used regardless of the price of the product purchased.
Many IMVU users are content creators, creating and selling products in the IMVU catalog. Users also devote time to customizing their individual homepages, setting up public and private rooms, creating and participating in user groups (similar to forums but personalized via the owner), and participate in the Community forums. Additionally, there are numerous user produced third-party websites providing additional forums and resources to the IMVU community. IMVU users also do peer reviewing on virtual products waiting to be submitted into the IMVU catalog.
- ^ a b "About: IMVU", IMVU website
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- ^ a b c http://www.imvu.com/about/faq.php
- ^ January 31, 2011 (2011-01-31). "IMVU Announces Growth, Promotion". Engage Digital. Retrieved 2011-11-13.
- ^ Cameron, Chris (2010-01-13). "Built for Speed: Turn Your Startup Into a Lean, Mean Iterating Machine". Read Write Web. Retrieved 2010-09-.
- ^ Eric Ries, Co-Founder and IMVU Board Observer IMVU. Retrieved: 2013-05-25.
- ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=5ia0nhmQybs#t=21m48s
- ^ "IMVU". IMVU. Retrieved 2011-11-13.