This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.
Online games like World of Warcraft and Second Life are absolute dictatorships, where the whim of the companies controlling them is law. Cory Doctorow wonders if it's possible to create a game that's a democracy, where your in-world property is really yours.
In January, 2006 a World of Warcraft moderator shut down an advertisement for a "GBLT-friendly" guild. This was a virtual club that players could join, whose mission was to be "friendly" to "Gay/Bi/Lesbian/Transgendered" players. The WoW moderator -- and Blizzard management -- cited a bizarre reason for the shut-down:
"While we appreciate and understand your point of view, we do feel that the advertisement of a 'GLBT friendly' guild is very likely to result in harassment for players that may not have existed otherwise. If you will look at our policy, you will notice the suggested penalty for violating the Sexual Orientation Harassment Policy is to 'be temporarily suspended from the game.' However, as there was clearly no malicious intent on your part, this penalty was reduced to a warning."
Sara Andrews, the guild's creator, made a stink and embarrassed Blizzard (the game's parent company) into reversing the decision.
In 2004, a player in the MMO EVE Online declared that the game's creators had stacked the deck against him, called EVE, "a poorly designed game which rewards the greedy and violent, and punishes the hardworking and honest." He was upset over a change in the game dynamics which made it easier to play a pirate and harder to play a merchant.
In both of these instances, players -- residents of virtual worlds -- resolved their conflicts with game management through customer activism. That works in the real world, too, but when it fails, we have the rule of law. We can sue. We can elect new leaders. When all else fails, we can withdraw all our money from the bank, sell our houses, and move to a different country.
But in virtual worlds, these recourses are off-limits. Virtual worlds can and do freeze players' wealth for "cheating" (amassing gold by exploiting loopholes in the system), for participating in real-world gold-for-cash exchanges (eBay recently put an end to this practice on its service), or for violating some other rule. The rules of virtual worlds are embodied in EULAs, not Constitutions, and are always "subject to change without notice."
We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
State of the CloudCloud has drastically changed how IT organizations consume and deploy services in the digital age. This research report will delve into public, private and hybrid cloud adoption trends, with a special focus on infrastructure as a service and its role in the enterprise. Find out the challenges organizations are experiencing, and the technologies and strategies they are using to manage and mitigate those challenges today.
The Cloud Gets Ready for the 20'sThis IT Trend Report explores how cloud computing is being shaped for the next phase in its maturation. It will help enterprise IT decision makers and business leaders understand some of the key trends reflected emerging cloud concepts and technologies, and in enterprise cloud usage patterns. Get it today!