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!!
So, yeah! I’m still trying to write about intellectual property rights within MMORPGs. I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that reputation is a commodity in MMORPGs, both for the game developers and the gamers themselves, and I’m wondering if it is this reputation that is or should be protected within intellectual property rights! Firstly I’ve used Eriksson and Grill’s DiGRA 2005 paper “Who owns my avatar? – Rights in virtual property” for inspiration to illustrate the different interests game developers and gamers have in intellectual property rights. From their excellent paper:
“Two main interests are discernible in connection to the game producers:
- Subscription interest – virtual trade may decrease a game producer’s income from subscriptions. If new players buy advanced characters for real money they won’t have to spend time in the game (which they consequently would have to pay for) advancing their own avatars. The subscription interest is also affected by the fact that the game producer may get a bad reputation by letting people with more money than time buy themselves into the game, resulting in gamers leaving the virtual world
- Control interest – developers have an interest in remaining in control over their creation. In part, this may be a purely creative interest, quite separable from the subscription interest. Often, producers wish that their virtual world should remain a game only. The recognition of ownership rights in the virtual world of their game may thus conflict with their wish to control that world. Producers therefore try to establish norms implying that trade in virtual property with real money should not exist”