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Reality vs. Virtuality (the worlds are slowly becoming the same)

January 15, 2010
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My friend Mike and I were talking the other day and the topic of paying for nothing came up.  We were discussing the new habit of basically exchanging real money for non-existant things.  So many of these current MMO games have options to pay for virtual objects.  This business went from basically nothing in 2008 to about $6 billion in 2009.  And I thought we were in a global recession.  I don’t get it.  I understand paying to play the game, but paying extra so that you can have better clothes on your imaginary friend?  I don’t think so.  This is just some evidence that the virtual world and the real world are blurring together for some people.  That’s bad.  Trust me, I saw Tron. 

So did this guy

There are many out there who spend more time in an imaginary place than in real life.  It makes me wonder where social skills are going to be in a few years.  One gaming executive said “People are in these worlds to play and socialize.”  That’s all well and good, but what are those same people going to do when they meet each other in real life?  I see a lot of awkward moments in the future.  Here are a few of the more wacky stories of people going a little crazy in an imaginary world. 

$330,000?  What a deal! 

Entropia Universe is on online multi-player game.  It is similar to Second-Life in that it is a virtual reality for the people who want to escape, or for those who can’t find a date.  Anyways, a man recently bought a space station mall in the game for a whopping $330,000.  Yes, in real money.  

For $330k, this could have been yours

From what I have read, he could make some of the money back by taxing visitors to the mall, but probably will never make back his investment.  It’s even got a bar where patrons can buy their fake avatar a fake drink.  Again, with real money.  What I want to know is what happens if the servers totally crash and the space station is lost?  It’s not like he has a deed to the property.  It makes me wonder if you can buy insurance on something like that.  By the way, the guy’s game name who bought the station was Buzz “Erik” Lightyear.  Priceless. 

Here are some other things bought on Entropia and the real money price paid for them: 

  • An asteroid space resort for $100,000
  • An island for $26,500 (Recouped in under a year by selling it off in virtual parcels.  Amazing.)
  • A virtual Entropia banking license for $95,000

Man takes virtual wife 

In one of the saddest story of a lonliness, a Japanese man recently said he was going to marry Nene Anegaski.  Here’s the problem: Nene is one of the virtual girlfriends on Love Plus for the Nintendo DS. 

This is Nene. Seriously.

And they let him do it.  They had a reception and everything.  Aside from the fact that she looks about 12 years old and anime creeps me out in general, I wonder how that relationship is going?  The dinners and movies would be cheaper.  That is, of course, unless he can buy virtual food for his virtual wife with real money.  And I don’t even want to know what their love life is like. 

Your name here on Google maps 

Google has recently acquired a patent for a program that will allow it to sell advertising space on it’s Google maps street view.  These advertisements are virtual and only on the online map.  So when you look up an address and check out the street view option, you may see this: 

 

Great, as if there isn’t enough advertising already.  I wonder what they’re going to charge for this new service.  Although it would be interesting to see who advertises where.  I think it would be kind of funny to look up a Target on street view and see a huge Wal-Mart advertisement, or vice-versa. 

Who needs you when my fake boyfriend is so much better? 

I know that many relationships nowadays are not so good.  I am lucky in that I have a very happy home life, which is why this next one seems so weird to me.  A woman opened a Second Life account and soon met a man who became her virtual boyfriend.  She started ignoring her real husband, and she sometimes spent 8+ hours a day in her fantasy world.  Her husband pulled the plug on the computer one day and the woman became violent.   

Pulling the plug on the internet: A rapidly growing reason for spousal abuse and divorce

Her husband almost immediately filed for divorce.  “What I wanted was for my husband to treat me like that guy” she said.  That’s great and all, but “that guy” doesn’t exist.  I am all for someone getting out of a bad relationship, but you have to be realistic in what you’re looking for.  If she finds someone like that, more power to her.  But I have a feeling she’ll be looking for a while.  I have learned that there are very few people in this world that you are a perfect match for.  It’s much harder than a game. 

So the line between reality and virtuality seems to be thinning.  Some people are going crazy in the virtual world, but they have to be careful not to forget about the real world.  I spend hours a day online and it often drives me batty.  Just remember, the real world is where life happens.  And you’ll never get a hug from your computer… yet.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 15, 2010 4:25 am

    Interesting. It reminds me a lot of Surrogates or, even better, the Matrix. The whole idea of the blurring of the real world and the virtual falseness that we engage in every day. Could this also be attributed to people actually buying decorations for Facebook and such?

  2. Gauldar permalink
    January 15, 2010 9:36 am

    This has been happening for a while, it’s just that it’s going digital now.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sealing_(Latter_Day_Saints)

  3. February 2, 2010 12:29 pm

    Hey very nice blog!!….I’m an instant fan, I have bookmarked you and I’ll be checking back on a regular….See ya

    Robert Shumake

  4. juanita permalink
    August 10, 2010 2:47 am

    Interesting blog. I am doing a uni assignment at the moment for spatial design and my themes is real space vs virtual space. Your blog helped me out heaps.thanks

  5. December 10, 2011 9:11 pm

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