Edit: I didn't notice it before, but there's an interesting little psuedo-Chinese gold farmers aspect to this whole thing. Apparently, Anshe employs a staff of 25 employees in Wuhan, China to help out with her business. It’s not quite like she’s employing them to play video games all day or anything, but I thought it was interesting nonetheless.
So, it looks like Second Life resident Anshe Chung has made about $1 million inside the virtual world since her immigration 32 months ago. All in all, that’s pretty close to my estimate that she made around $250,000 a year working in Second Life. Some folks, including the BusinessWeek writer who initially profiled her back in May doubt her claims, though. Here's Anshe's release:
Anshe Chung's achievement is all the more remarkable because the fortune was developed over a period of two and a half years from an initial investment of $9.95 for a Second Life account by Anshe's creator, Ailin Graef. Anshe/Ailin achieved her fortune by beginning with small scale purchases of virtual real estate which she then subdivided and developed with landscaping and themed architectural builds for rental and resale. Her operations have since grown to include the development and sale of properties for large scale real world corporations, and have led to a real life "spin off" corporation called Anshe Chung Studios, which develops immersive 3D environments for applications ranging from education to business conferencing and product prototyping.