Who’s hands hold the “virtual” world?

This post is the 16th in a series for a graduate course called Theory and Audience Analysis. For the course, I will be posting weekly questions and follow-up analysis about the various readings we are assigned. This post is an initial reaction to readings on virtual worlds.

In “Why Virtual Worlds Matter” it seems that the authors are coming to similar conclusions as Jane McGonigal. They see virtual worlds as spaces for learning and signals of what’s to come in societies’ future. It sees the potential of collaboration in a virtual environment to have real-world impact.

I thought the “Ethical Issues of Second Life” raised interesting discussion as to the reality of these virtual worlds. While the idealism of positive virtual world collaboration is great, the actuality is that a virtual environment may conflict with real-world rules and limitations. If many see virtual worlds as a space to escape from reality, how do you translate virtual acts into real-world impact?

There does seem to be value in having a virtual space to escape to, but what about when the virtual life becomes more important than real life?

I think currency is also a fascinating aspect of virtual worlds, especially when it can equate to real-world money or even have more weight than real-world currency? If virtual worlds are the future then will virtual money have more impact? What about virtual government or leaders? What about the creators of these virtual worlds? They make the rules. Are they the true leaders?

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