The State of Play book!

I’ve pretty much accepted that my thesis is just a summary of discussions about MMORPGs. When you start out such things, you always think you’re gonna write something new – but, naw! I’ve foolishly created my own typology though – I don’t know what I was thinking, it just felt like something that needed to be done! I’m waiting for a ‘go ahead’ from my darling advisor, now, while I’m trying to sum up…well…way too much actually! The ontology of the avatar (oh please inject me with an instant psychology degree!), intellectual property rights of avatar created content (oh please inject me with a law degree!) and MMORPGs – collaborative fiction, society or gameplay? (urgh – still working on the set-up there).
ANYWAYS!!! I say that it’s all about summing up the discussions – and they can all be found in this new book!!! Excellent that they’ve published it all in one book! What I’ve always loved about the subject of MMORPGs is the involvement from so many disciplines! There’s lively discussions between designers, lawyers, economist, psychologist, anthropologists, historians, sociologists and…urgh…you name the field and they’re probably heavily involved already! If you’re interested in studying MMORPGs, buy this book! It’s ESSENTIAL!!! No matter what field you’re coming from! I hate to be an advertisement but BUY THIS BOOK!!!!!!
I’ll probably be back later to link to the brilliant minds behind it – but I’ve spent way too long with my morning news and coffee and must dash to dive into work!!

"…even if their world doesn’t really exist."

Clickable Culture reports on a lawsuit made against Linden Lab for “a virtual land deal gone sour”. From what I gather, Marc Bragg found some glitch in the system (bug?) of Second Life where he could buy land for under the market value. He decided to invest in this discovery and see if he could make a profit when he proceeded to sell the land for market value.

And from what I gather something suddenly happened that made him loose his Second Life account. According to Bragg, Linden Lab terminated his account “without explanation, without citing any violation of community policy, and have since refused offer a credit or a refund”.

Bragg in a statement says: “These games are like the virtual Wild West, but Linden Lab is still obligated to honor real-world contract law and consumer law, even if their world doesn’t really exist.”

Of course he’s right! Second Life has a potent market with US dollars and since they’ve issued Intellectual Property rights to their citizens – they really do have to think about real life contract and consumer law. Second Life very much exists then, if you ask me. But by what laws should they adhere to? Don’t get me wrong, I love what Second Life has done! But with it comes some democratic responsibility and not dictatorial rule. I’m no lawyer, so I’m not sure – and to be honest, lawsuits like this kinda scare me for what’s going happen in the future. I, for one, don’t want too much reality in virtual worlds although it is exciting to see it evolving, it’s like a whole new society being born – and that is fun!

I find it really suprising if Linden Lab truely has behaved in this manner. They must have been prepared for this happening somehow, haven’t they? And I’m sure they’re within their rights of punishing those who take advantages of bugs for profit (after all, we’re not talking about a game here, we’re talking about reality) – but to just cut him off with no reason, no explanation and furthermore no dialogue! I’m sure they could have worked something out, somehow and learned from this ‘glitch’! So…I’m not sure if this is really the way it all went down – I’m looking forward to hearing Linden Lab’s response!