Friday, June 08, 2007

Meet the new world...same as the old world

A portrait of the author as Kendilla, in the MMORPG Anarchy Online circa 2004. From the old guild page, which inexplicably is still up.

In various virtual worlds, cute girls get offered more help, money helps you get ahead despite efforts to stop it, and people strive for status among their peers...sounds awfully familiar, doesn't it? It makes you want to ask: why pay $9.95 a month when I can get all that for free in the real world? Of course, in a virtual world, I could be a cute girl (I was for a was SO MUCH FUN...but no time for MMORPGs these days.) Here's a discussion of how reality is invading virtual worlds (HT: Sullivan):

But today, when the games are beginning to reach a mass market in more and more countries, and the research into what actually happens in these virtual worlds has become more extensive, two things have become much clearer: the virtual world has several behaviour patterns in common with the real world, and the dynamic on the part of the players in the world of the game is driven more by economic rationality than by idealism.

RESEARCHER NICK YEE at Stanford University has studied the dynamics of the virtual world. A common feature in his researches is how patterns of behaviour in the real world are mirrored in the virtual world. Attractive avatars are more willing to be intimate with strangers, and tall avatars reveal greater self-confidence. Gender-related behaviour is also mirrored from the real world. In the games male avatars have, for example, a shorter distance when communicating, and they meet other avatars’ gaze for a shorter period. A large majority of both male and female avatars also express extreme ideals of beauty from the real world, which is clear to anyone who has visited the games.

I'm sure virtual realities will provide wonderful laboratories in which academics can test out their theories. In the not-to-distant future, disciplines like sociology, economics, anthropology, and political science will have virtual and non-virtual sub-specialties, if they don't already.


Blogger Sarah said...

I remember seeing you as Kendilla (on-screen only). I especially liked the Go-Go Boots.

5:53 AM, June 10, 2007  

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