Virtual world generates real dollars?

Hmmm… Could this be true?

Second Life economy totals $567 million US dollars in 2009 – 65% growth over 2008

Gross Resident Earnings are $55 million US Dollars in 2009 – 11% growth over 2008

In 2009, the rest of the world caught up with what Second Life Residents have known for a long time – that virtual goods can be a very good business. Headlines about a billion-dollar plus trade in virtual items appeared in the mainstream press, but in many cases the articles focused on the platforms that create and provide virtual goods to their users, not on the users themselves.

And this is what sets Second Life apart: our users create, merchandise, and sell virtual goods as part of the largest user-generated 3D virtual goods economy in the world. By any measure – number of items, transactions, dollar value, revenues earned – Second Life is the leader. In 2009, Second Life Residents earned more than twice that amount – US$55 million – while the total size of the Second Life economy grew 65% to US$567 million.