Friday, May 05, 2006

Virtual Cash

Glenn Reynolds speaks often about the coming singularity, where technology will be advancing at such an astonishing rate it will change human conciousness.

This has got to fit into that singularity somewhere.

You can now have a video game character who makes money online, and transfer that into dollars in the real world at a (currently) 10 to 1 exchange rate. It isn't really that wierd, because you are still investing money (uploading dollars or pounds for video game currency) in something that has value to others, and if you charge other people to use that thing of value, you can make money on your investment. I'd just never heard of video game dollars being transferrable to real world dollars.

What is really wierd are names like "Nerverdie."


Dante said...

This isn't really something new. The only thing that makes this any different from the folks selling Ultima Online real estate 7 or 8 years ago is that the company hosting the game actually condones and supports this type of thing. Being an Everquest fan, SAWB could probably tell you all about Chinese gold farmers.

ruby booth said...

But hopefully he won't, since, as a World of Warcraft player, I think if I hear that phrase one more time my head will explode.

However, yes, welcome to the 21st century. MMO's are serious business for a lot of folks, and not just big fellas living in their mama's basements. They are intensely social, non-zero sum games, and the profits that you make there are easily convertible into US dollars (or yuan, or Euros for that matter).

In all the MMO's I have played, people commonly excuse their bad behavior by saying: "it's just a game." But the fact of the matter is you can meet really real people, form really real relationships, and some folks make really real money. If you telecommute to the office, it doesn't mean you don't have a real job. And when you meet people in online game you can make real friendships, real money, and you get real satisfaction when you do something well. Even if you do look a little silly in that armor.