I was fascinated by the last edition of Four Corners, You Only Live Twice.
It is about living in virtual online worlds where you enjoy making money, adventure and sex. Participants in this world are other real players and the game interacts with the real world – game money can be converted into US dollars, clothes you try on virtually can be purchased and so on.
Regulatory and legal issues abound. Should unconventional sexual practices in this world be banned? How are contract violations and identity theft dealt with? Given that real profits are being earned with real investments in virtual stocks and property assets, should they be taxed? Who should tax them given that players are distributed globally? Can such games be used to simulate real world behaviour to determine what will happen to the economy if Ben Bernanke raises interest rates?
The limits of living are set by your imagination and these games allow your imagination to run riot.
The main game examined was Second Life which is extraordinary. I got into it last night (it’s a possible substitute for blogging!), have an Avatar identity and am in the process of learning the rules.
I’d be interested in reader experiences of such games.