"We live in a virtual world anyway"

BBC News Technology has an interesting article on yet another Robbie Cooper project. I love these little ‘who’s behind the avatar projects. This one seems to focus on the people making ‘real’ money playing MMORPGs in China and Korea. I’m a bit disappointed however because he seems to focus on the economies we already know about like, powerleveling, avatar clothes and niche ‘virtual’ objects. I’m disappointed because I’ve started to think about the innovating minds that are making money from the more social/cultural attributes of online gaming. Such as private investigators, marriage ‘priests’ (whatever the taste of the game world), prostitution and those that provide basic in-game entertainment (music, literature, games a.s.o.). There’s a market here as well and it should be investigated a little more…but I’m not sure how. Which I suppose also reminds me that I should get caught up on my T.L. Taylor reading.

I love this quote from Robbie Cooper:

“We live in a virtual world anyway, ” says Mr. Cooper. “Democracy is virtual, politics is virtual; all this stuff and information we get in the newspaper – a lot of it is public relations stuff.”

It kinda reinforces my curiosity of what the word ‘virtual’ actually entails in our era.

There’s also two confirmational points that screamed out to me from the article.

1) That Chinese and Korean online guilds meet up regularly in the ‘real’. Which brings me back to my trip to Korea. This was at a time when I hardly knew what online gaming was, but even then I was mesmerised by how sociable internet cafés were. There was always a sociable couch or/and bar element. And they sat there in groups with their own laptops having a great time with drinks, laughter and computers. It amazed me and I’m wondering if this is the big difference between the west and the east. Here, online gaming is considered to be a geeky loner type hobby, while over there it seemed to be a group activity both in reality and virtuality (oh dear, what a word!).
2) That it seems to be generally accepted that gameplay is utterly and miserably boring in the beginning of MMORPGs and that the power levelling ‘commodity’ is an accepted solution. Instead of calling for the game designers to make the beginning more ‘fun’. On the subject of power levelling Mr Cooper states; “From their point of view it is understandable. When a new game comes out, do you want to start at the bottom or have someone do that for you to get to level at which it is fun to play?”. Personally, I find power levelling annoying. The beginning is painful and slow, but in that process you also learn so much about socialising and language, which I think is essential. Power levelling kinda ruins this and I think we should be focusing on making things more ‘fun’ for beginners. But that’s just my opinion!

Speaking of power levelling one of my favorite blogs, Wonderland, has picked up on yet another ‘sexy females and gaming’ site. This one is ‘Enjoy WoW’ which offers ‘sexy vixen consultants’ who sell powerlevelling in World of Warcraft. You should take a look, it’s quite funny really!

Anyways! Cooper’s exhibition will open in Amsterdam on November 9th and I’m hoping it will go on tour!!!

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