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Unreal worlds — 7 Comments

  1. “:Somewhere the rich and the poor worlds diverged, the rich to discover the worlds of fantasy, the poor to cope with a world that is a very grinding reality.”

    You make some good points Ian.

    The real irony is virtual goods are bought with virtual money, which is all that fiat currency is really.
    Especially now with the central bank printing presses running overtime with the bulk going to the banks who caused the financial meltdown.

    However, there are also cases of people connecting or converging the real and virtual, using virtual worlds events for real world fund raising efforts.
    As a musician I have done many over the last few years.

    My personal favorite was earlier this year when I did an event for a fellow artist within the virtual world of Second Life who was raising funds for a Heifer.org project. In a little over an hour we raised ~US$550 towards his project to raise US$10K ,purely from donations in virtual dollars from live music listener supporters. These virtual Linden Dollars are then exchanged for RL US$ like any other currency exchange.

    I gather he has now hit the heifer project us$10K target, all raised in the virtual world of Second Life through events and donations of virtual dollars. https://www.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=178641&lis=1&kntae178641=A0822ACF4C794893804B972D6285F8A7&supId=190129196&team=0&cj=N

  2. I agree with you about us producing money to fund the institutions who caused the crisis. Here in Ireland the poor are going to pay to bail out the super rich

    Isn’t there a big difference between, as you describe, using the ‘virtual world’ as a platform to raise money for real things in the real world, and using it as a means of extracting real money from people for things that have no existence, that money simply going to corporate profits?

  3. “Isn’t there a big difference between, as you describe, using the ‘virtual world’ as a platform to raise money for real things in the real world, and using it as a means of extracting real money from people for things that have no existence, that money simply going to corporate profits?”

    I’m not so sure.
    Any technology or media can be used for noble or base purposes, and the reality is they are.

    On a meta content level, there is no difference between consuming entertainment media such as a passive movie/ tv show/radio show and experiencing an interactive virtual world environment. They all need a rendering device, but the content is virtual to a certain extent (lets set aside the optional issue of buying a physical DVD or download and just focus on the delivery experience for the moment).

    How it is used, as you point out, is the key.

    Virtual worlds offer many advantages for immersive distributed real time interaction, and the virtual goods market – while it can be as frivolous as RL fashion, for example – is an essential part of the mechanism for populating them with contextual content.

  4. Hi,

    I spent the afternoon visiting housebound – a very non-virtual activity, but a chance to think about the implications of ‘virtual worlds’.

    One of the other areas of concern I would have, aside from the expenditures, is the derogation from personal responsibility and the dangers that can bring. If one can be whatever one wants to be, the choice is likely to be something other than the mundane conventional life most people lead, a choice that can bring all sorts of repercussions in its wake.

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