Reuters has opened the world's first virtual news agency, assigning a dedicated journalist to cover events in online world Second Life.

London-based Adam Pasick will work under the pseudonym Adam Reuters in the simulation game, hoping to tap into the growth of its virtual economy.

Second Life is said to have 400,000 regular users, spending a combined $350,000 (about £188,000) per day and $13m (£7m) per year using the virtual currency, Linden dollars.

The game allows players to build homes and live out alternative versions of their lives in a more realistic environment than other online worlds such as World of Warcraft. The real-life Reuters described it as "the closest thing to a parallel universe existing on the internet".

A number of real-world brands have been looking at getting a piece of the action, with Toyota, Adidas and Sony BMG among those investigating the business opportunities.

"As strange as it might seem, it's not that different from being a reporter in the real world," Pasick told Reuters.