Sex sells in Second Life, as it does in real life, and this article by Computer Gaming World delves into the story of prostitution within Linden Labs' virtual world. While Second Life prides itself on being driven by user-created content, including user-driven entertainments at nightclubs and gaming plazas, it's no secret that cybersex is amongst the entertainments on offer for the discerning punter.
According to the article, escorts can earn up to L$10,000 a week from a few hours' work -- approximately $30, although the exchange rate fluctuates. It's not something that a brand-new character would be able to pull off, though; an expensive wardrobe of realistic avatar clothing, skins and animations is an asset, as are gender verification and a location in which to practice. The industry supporting the sale of these items, and arrranging escort encounters, seems more profitable than actual on-the-street work.
Does this render sex-based MMOs redundant? No; there's room in the market for more than the offerings from Second Life residents. But as the recent suspension of Spend the Night shows, creating an erotic MMOs isn't plain sailing; Second Life's exploration of the genre, with or without endorsement from its creators, is a useful first for any developers that wish to follow.