Posts Tagged 'virtual'

My avatar made me do it

Online gaming has millions of characters (and the people controlling them) interacting virtually. Some co-operatively and others, not so co-operatively, more like coercively. A Dutch court has imposed real life penalties to a couple of youths who robbed another of his virtual possessions. Have we crossed a boundary between virtual actions and real world consequences?

The case has set a precedent by dishing out punishment for online activity. This raises many questions about avatars, characters, online accounts and virtual crimes. If my character does your character wrong can I be punished in real life? I guess if you can prove that my virtual actions caused you real life suffering then I could be in a bit of trouble. Also why should I be punished for the actions of my character, why not just punish my character? Also does a real life organization need to police characters in game? Isn’t that for the game developer to decide? One thing is clear, online games are changing the was we recognize virtual possessions. No longer can we commit crimes online and hide behind the Internet.

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Second Life lawsuit: hands off my virtual d*ck!

Wouldn’t it be cool if, in real life, all you had to do in order to try out new, crazy, adventurous sex would be to buy a script from somebody and run it? Or if you weren’t happy with your genitalia, all you had to do was pay someone a few bucks to create a new one (or ones) for you? It sounds weird, but that’s pretty much the only way you can engage in sexual activity in Second Life. (Er, not that I would know.) And like all things in Second Life, those scripts make somebody a killing in real-life money—including people who rip the scripts off from others and resell them as their own. At least one lawsuit over the unauthorized distribution of scripts has finally been settled, though, and no money changed hands.

The not-nearly-as-sordid-as-you-might-think story goes like this. 19-year-old Robert Leatherwood allegedly stole scripts written by Florida-based Eros, LLC that gave people’s avatars lifelike naughty bits and enabled them to engage in kinky, virtual sex. He then resold them without permission, which sparked a lawsuit from Eros founder Kevin Alderman over copyright violations last July. That was apparently when Leatherwood decided to stop selling the scripts, according to the Associated Press, and was likely part of the reason Eros decided to settle. (link)

Breaking news: academic games are lame

Academics have been flocking to use virtual worlds and multiplayer games as ways to research everything from economics to epidemiology and turn these environments into educational tools. A game called Arden, the World of Shakespeare, funded with a $250,000 MacArthur Foundation grant and developed at Indiana University was supposed to test economic theories by manipulating the rules of the game. There’s only one problem. “It’s no fun, ” says Edward Castronova, Arden’s creator and an associate professor of telecommunications at the university. “You need puzzles and monsters,” he says, “or people won’t want to play … Since what I really need is a world with lots of players in it for me to run experiments on, I decided I needed a completely different approach.” Part of the problem is it costs a lot to build a new multiplayer game. (story)


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