Edward Castronova is believed to be the world’s leading researcher on virtual world economies. Recently, in a post on Terra Nova, the ultimate blog offering news and opinions regarding the social, economic, legal, psychological, and political aspects of these worlds, Castronova, reporting on the recent security breach in SL, asked himself the question: “Is 3D internet something that Terra Nova should cover?”
Put into other words — if Terra Nova writes about virtual worlds, that are almost exclusively some form of games, and Second Life does not fit any of the “usual” classifications of MMOGs, should Terra Nova talk about Second Life at all?
The comments on that section are most enlightening. It seems quite clear that Second Life is breaking all paradigms. Suddenly, we got a virtual world with all the characteristics of a MMOG — immersive experience, persistent 3D content, social interaction, and so on — but with a tiny, tiny difference: it’s not a game. The economy is real, not virtual. The content is created by the users. The rules are made by everybody, not the company that designed it. SL works as a front-end to application servers that run somewhere on the Internet.
No “game” does that.| | | Next → |