A few weeks ago I ran into an old friend who wasn’t familiar with IMVU and asked me, “what do you like about your work?” My answer came quickly, “I love helping people connect to new friends and family, and when we do a really great job we change people’s lives for the better”. My friend paused for a few seconds and had a look of curiosity on his face when he responded, “I thought IMVU was just a game”.
While explaining to my friend why IMVU is so much more than a game, it struck me – I should also share my thoughts with the IMVU community…
Of course, some people do come to IMVU to experience something like a game… a quick casual chat with a new person, fun with fashion and dress-up, building and decorating rooms, playing Walk Off or Daily Outfits Challenge (or as my wife calls it, IMVU’s Project Runway).
However, through my conversations and interviews with IMVU customers, I’ve found many stories that illustrate the deeper value IMVU delivers in ways that truly change lives:
IMVU helps people become part of a community that accepts them for who they really are. The diversity and anonymity in IMVU enable people to say, “this is who I am” without fear of consequences. A customer from our LGBTQ community told me about being afraid of physical harm in their real-life community and said, “On IMVU I’m the real me, in real life I’m not”.
IMVU’s creator program enables our creative community members – Creators – to highlight their talent and, in many cases, becomes a source of supplemental or even their primary income. This is particularly meaningful when you realize this money pays household expenses or medical bills.
IMVU enables people to overcome challenges and have experiences that might be out of reach otherwise. One customer told me the comfort of socializing on IMVU helped her overcome being introverted and shut-in. Another customer confined to a wheelchair shared with me that IMVU allows her to dance, explore and go places in the world.
IMVU unleashes creative potential for customers like PoppaJoe, who works with IMVU friends as cast members to create great music videos and tell stories. Other customers use their avatars, chat rooms, and millions of items in the Shop to tell great stories through role-playing, fan fiction and re-creating reality TV shows.
IMVU helps people find close friends and sometimes even their life partner. The relationships formed on IMVU are real and strong. From a customer that told me her mother died and the first person she called was a friend she made on IMVU years earlier, to the many customers that met, fell in love and got married… solid connections are formed on IMVU.
One story sticks with me as a deep reminder of the importance of helping connect people… While interviewing a customer, she told me, “IMVU saved my life”. I initially thought this had to be an exaggeration, and asked what she really meant. She continued to tell me she was going through rehab and her family had abandoned her… when she needed support the most, she had none. She had just started using IMVU and found a family that accepted her and was always there to offer her support. When her mind went to a dark place, when she felt like giving up, and felt life wasn’t worth it, her IMVU family pulled her through.
These stories… connecting people in meaningful ways… this is why I love my work.
Whatever IMVU means to you, whether it is just a game or a deeper part of your life, thank you for being our customer.