Wednesday, January 30, 2002

GEEK ECONOMY: The null device leads me to this New Scientist article about an online roleplaying game called EverQuest. Apparently the community of EverQuest players have created a legit economy by trading items valuable within the context of the game on eBay. A quick google search yields the original paper. This struck me as interesting:

Norrath is a virtual world that exists entirely on 40 computers in San Diego. The entire dollar-based economy is underground, since the owning company, Sony, considers everything created in the world to be its intellectual property. Unlike many internet ventures, virtual worlds are making money -- with annual revenues expected to top $1.5 billion by 2004 -- and if network effects are as powerful here as they have been with other internet innovations, virtual worlds may be the next step in the evolution of internet (and possibly human) culture.

So virtual worlds are the economic future of the Internet and the next step in cultural evolution. I think the former is a little more obvious, what with our own little community's recent forays into Blogger Pro. There's probably a moral here about modernity making people pay just to have human contact, for God's sake, and we're all just sitting around at our computers and we've been distanced by cruel technology. (I just read Player Piano.) But I'm not making that moral.

No comments: