Ones and zeros. How many in our life are dictated by zeros and ones floating somewhere in cyberspace? I’m more confident than we think. This is a wonderful new world, and we are a part of it, whether we like it or not. We even created magical worlds for ourselves in which we can become what we have ever dreamed of and a few things that we would never have imagined for. These worlds are accessed through the same portals through which we do banking, shop, communicate, schedule, etc., etc.
In these worlds, we can communicate with other adventurers like ourselves, who are tired of day to day everyday life from day to day and only want to feel the rush of robbing a new dungeon, moving to the next level, free fire gratis, creating new weapons. What is it about people that makes us run away from life? People can be blissfully lost for days in a romance, hours in a movie, minutes in a song. Why? Aside from the obvious fact that the real world can be a violent place, I guess it has something to do with people’s fundamental desire to be free.
These escapes liberate one from the constraints of reality. The last thing a level 56 mage experiences in the midst of a raging battle with a fire-breathing dragon is that the trash must be taken out and the rent must be paid tomorrow.
There is no such thing as pesky lords in Azeroth – and if there were, you could probably just throw a fireball and boom at them – the problem is solved. What’s interesting about the new worlds being created online is that the lines between reality and fantasy are becoming increasingly blurred. Some of these virtual communities have evolved into real world economies, with all the risks and rewards associated with real markets. It was inevitable: when you have a demand for something, you will end up with someone willing to provide what is required and someone else willing to pay for it.
As a result, real-world industries were created to serve the ever-growing needs of virtual worlds. If you don’t want to spend hours developing your online character, you can spend money buying it – everyone is aligned, everyone is set up and ready to go! I have heard of one case where one particular weapon in an online game was sold for $ 1,500 in real money, and that was a few years ago. Most recently, a man was arrested for hacking into hundreds of online accounts for one particular game and stealing weapons and other equipment valued at tens of thousands of dollars – real money! These stories are by no means new, but the underlying concept is important.
Many online games will allow you to buy their virtual money with your real money. And if you were to count, I would bet that some of these currencies in the game world are performing better now than some of the real world currencies. This view of a possible trading market in the virtual world casts doubt on the idea that the only real commodity that is traded is time – someone spends x number of hours creating a virtual asset that someone else buys for x amount of dollars … When you can buy and sell dollar against dollar, so to speak, in a demand-driven money market in a virtual economy, what questions does this start to raise? What opportunities does this create? Throughout history, technology has created new markets and new business opportunities. From the first sea-going ships that brought back spices, to railroads crossing continents that brought the new world together, technology has continually boosted trade.
So, with the help of the Internet, we created new ff worlds and new economies were born out of them. New companies are making claims and clogging up territories. These companies operate in the real world with real money, but at the same time, they don’t … or they decided there was no real difference in the end. You can buy their virtual gold with your real money. You can also sell your virtual assets for real money.
The lines between reality and fantasy are blurred. Is this a fantastic character or asset that you can sell to pay off your mortgage? However, many people find that they prefer a little fantasy from time to time. This makes it a little easier to operate the dishwasher most of the time, when you can be a level 80 paladin the rest of the time. Welcome to a new world order built of ones and zeros and fueled by a global need to escape.