Reuters is opening the world's first virtual news bureau in online multiplayer game Second Life staffed with a reporter assigned to cover news in the online world.

Second Life is one of the most popular Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG) on the web – it boasts almost a million members, 400,000 of which are regular visitors to the site.

Reuters reporter Adam Pasick, who will go by the avatar Adam Reuters in Second Life, will staff the bureau. He says about his role: “Like any reporter, I'll cover Second Life events as they happen, interview residents and uncover interesting stories.”

Reuters is not alone in taking the virtual real seriously. Toyota has offered cars for sale, Adidas and American Apparel sell clothes for the avatars, and BBC Radio One is renting an island to stage concerts.

Second Life residents will be able to use a new Reuters News Center, similar to a real world mobile device, to keep up to date with the news. The Heads Up Display will carry live Reuters feeds of both real-life and Second Life stories.

In addition, Reuters has built the Reuters Atrium, a town hall community center, where players can meet to discuss events. A button on the News Center will take them straight to the Atrium from wherever they are. The Reuters Atrium will open for business on 18 October.