The San Francisco Chronicle has an interesting article, ‘Economists to explore world of online Games. With a lot of old news, virtual property for real money and blah blah blah….and Castronova is mentioned (OF COURSE!!) Now…I have to admit that I was a bit perplexed when I read Castronova saying that he wanted to alter a few things in Second Life to see how people would react to certain things. The article also mentions Alvin Roth who seems supportive of such an experiment because “… players come to online games willingly and because the underlying economics could be changed in invisible ways and therefore less likely to alter behavior”. And I instantly felt offended! I didn’t like that professors were going to be studying my reactions by varying the world. I may be overreacting, and to be honest….I think it sounds like a great experiment…but my emotions as a MMORPG player, got the better of me.
But then I thought about it….I think maybe the journalist misunderstood a bit. And then I thought again, and understood that I have clearly crossed the border somewhere along the way. It isn’t ‘just’ a game anymore….it’s a part of me!!
Ofcourse….what I find so compelling, is that Second Life seems to only consist of academics studying the game (I have no numbers to back it up…and of course I’m exagerating), so there they are roaming around in their world studying each other…there’s a unique and humorous irony in there somewhere!