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Virtual Jobs.
Virtual Dole and turning peacekeeping on it's head.

This isn�t exactly about a hi-tech gadget; it�s subtler then that.

http://www.walrusmagazine.com/04/05/06/1929205.shtml

I�ll start with this because it brings something up that�s always nagged me while I played Bias. �Men play as women characters partly for the kinky thrill, but also because female characters are given random presents of free stuff by other players, a chivalric custom known as "gifting." I�ve always wondered if this sort of behaviour was because of a pity factor, chivalry factor or what? The supposedly �hard-core� world of Withmore tends to be generous, I lost count how often Bias would be given something for nothing even though action/description wise she was covered in sewage, strung out, hissing and visibly spending a lot of cash on booze and drugs... As amusing as the small section about female characters and their worth is, it�s likely only thought provoking for a feminist economics student or two. The article becomes useful further down when it points out that while players love a level playing field, �It seems that we definitely do not want everybody to have the same stuff all the time; people find it boring."

And from there it brings up the debate about who, exactly, owns virtual property. �If enough people treat their Robe of Primordial Waters as though it's genuine personal property, the law might respect that � no matter what the game companies say.�

�For now, there is no clear precedent on how to deal with virtual property. Owning a virtual castle is not like owning other virtual things, such as stock in a company, because the value is not in an external, tangible object such as a corporation, but in the work and money invested in acquiring it.� Gee, what an odd concept. The writer mentions IGE, a company that buys and sells virtual goods as well as Black Snow Interactive.  They also mention a recent game-currency exchange set up in Toronto.

It�s not the freshest article written about the melding of virtual and real economies, but it�s a quick, informative read from a newish mag. In the same issue there's an article on mercenaries doing none profit peace keeping work.  (reminded me of Lucifer when I read it. :P) http://www.walrusmagazine.com/article.pl?sid=04/04/27/1912249&tid=1

Wow, have you any familiarity with Everquest? (I'm, sure most of you do) this game literally has an economy that far surpasses many, many third world countries (comparatively like 70 something in the world)  and virtual ownership...  items/charcters/platnum in the game is sold for hundreds sometimes thousands of dollars.  

on a similar note paypal won't insure transactions made on the everquest -player auctions- because the stuff your buying isn't real. (well doesn't have spacial location in the way that you would normally think of it anyway)

wierd, and somewhat freightening.


It's only a debate as long as the orinigal owners of the world don't claim all ownership from the outset. You don't actually own the items in your inventory... we own the bits that make them up, the descriptions, the computer running the code, the code itself, etc. The only way that you own them is in the IC sense, but even that's subject to our whim as we could turn the whole thing off, and that ownership would become pointless.

Realizing that, the idea that these things would (and do, as the article clearly points) have any value in the real world is not nearly as uncommon as one might expect. It's like going to the movie theater and seeing a movie. You don't get to own the movie, or even in fact take the movie home with you. Your paying for the experience of having watched that movie, which has no 'value' in the real world.

Micro economies and virtual economies spring up every time two groups have things which are of more value to the other group than they are to themselves.

I think the reason males frequently 'gift' females ties back to that whole difference in motive between males and females. It's often said, 'Males give love to get sex, and females give sex to get love'. That's just another way males try to give love to get sex.

Just my 2 chyen.

-Kevlar

On 'Gifting' : I know when I give a gift to my girlfriend, it isn't to get sex, or love, or anything. I give her stuff because it makes me feel good to give her things because she smiles.

Yes, I am a freaking sap.

As to 'Virtual Ownership', I agree with Kev, especially in a case like Sindome. Players don't really own anything on the moo. The Sindome Group does. It is all just ones and zeros at the end of the day. But, the situation would be far far different if there was a permanent setup of 'digital space' where, given a set of general 'physics' one could make, build, buy, sell, whatever. In that case, if I 'lease' or 'buy' a particular bit of virual realestate, say a VR Condo, I would own the code and the space that condo occupies on a server.

But that is a far different scenario.

None the less, this will become a very big issue very soon.