Category Archives: Virtual Worlds

Conditioning Game-Players for Nofun and Profit

who killed videogames? (a ghost story) is getting a whole lot of bloggish attention, and justly so.

It tells the tale of how “social” game makers, especially for handheld devices, are scientifically manipulating the user to get them to spend real money in the games.

I personally don’t play any of those things, and have never spent any money in them, but even so it’s pretty creepy and convincing. The end of the article (don’t skip), suggests that the results can be generalized. Ouch.

Posted in Software, Virtual Worlds | 1 Comment

World Bank Says Online Games Brought $3bn in 2009 to Third World Computer Sweatshops

A research arm of the World Bank has produced a comprehensive report on the size of the grey-market virtual world economy in developing countries — gold farming, power-levelling, object making and so on — and arrived at a staggering $3 billion turnover in 2009.

via Boing Boing, World Bank: gold farming (etc) paid poor countries $3B in 2009.

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All (Virtual Worlds) Politics Is Pizza

Aporia, in The Politics of Frozen Pizza, says “All politics is pizza.”

The context is governance of online spaces (not therefore regions of, say, scarcity, war, or genocide), but in that realm it's a better metaphor then you might think.

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Jotwell: Third Party Beneficiary Law Meets Virtual Worlds

oie_globes_and_books5_sm.gifJames Grimmelmann has a nice piece up on Jotwell called Third Parties to the Rescue.

Here’s how it starts:

Michael Risch’s Virtual Third Parties, 25 Santa Clara Computer & High Tech. L.J. 416 (2009) tips the scales at a mere eleven pages—but it punches far above its weight class. He gives a clear and straightforward reading of third-party beneficiary doctrine in contract law to put a new spin on old problems of online power.

Risch’s subject is virtual worlds, where the immense technical power of the world’s provider is so well-recognized that it has its own shorthand name: the “God Problem.” If Blizzard wants to exile you from World of Warcraft, confiscate everything you own in-world, or stick your avatar in the stocks, their control over the servers lets them do it with a few keystrokes. Your avatar’s arms are never going to be long enough to box with a game god whose software controls arm length.

Posted in Virtual Worlds | 4 Comments

And So We Go Full Circle (Inevitable Dept.)

Thanks to the Guilds's Do You Wanna Date My Avatar we've gone full circle.

Once upon a time, the cool thing about Machinima was having avatars singing along to songs, or having songs written for them. Avatars playing people moved quickly from dogs on their hind legs to an art form.

Now the wheel has gone full circle and we have a genuine music video in which people play avatars. (And, yes, I'm aware of previous parodies).

Posted in Kultcha, Virtual Worlds | Leave a comment

Virtual Worlds Will Not Solve This Banking Crisis

Jesus Diaz, Determining the Money Supply of a Virtual World,

People have been studying virtual worlds for a while now, but there has been little discussion on the money supply. Currently, most virtual world developers do not publish data on the money supply and so I developed a method in estimating it. Using economic theory and the exchange rate, I was able to check the accuracy of my estimate. After applying my method to World of Warcraft, I believe there is over nine billion gold on North American servers. If that gold were converted to USD, it would be worth $192 million, and if the same held true for all World of Warcraft players, there would be $747 million.

Not close to enough to help with the current banking crisis, alas.

Posted in Virtual Worlds | 3 Comments

Google Creates a Virtual World

Say hello to Lively.

Things are free now, but they've programmed in the idea of “prices”…

Posted in Virtual Worlds | 2 Comments