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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Virtual World Shennanigans and Goings On: EVE

This post, based on a BBC online article, is not to update you on the EVE virtual world, but to give a glimpse into the state of virtual worlds, if you've largely ignored them (as I have). EVE is a massively multiplayer online game (MMORPG). (The tortured acronym is not mine.) This MMORPG is an expansive space opera game involving hundreds of thousands of players, reportedly. Second Life is another MMORPG that is more of a social virtual world. Both have their own virtual currencies for trading within the game world. EVE's currency is the ISK (interstellar kredits). You may earn ISKs within the game through services and products made in the world.

However, since players pay real money to play the game (and people always try to create a pecking order in every situation), ISKs have a perceived real value. There are even banks for ISK currency.

That's where the scandal occurred. One of the players running a bank allegedly (virtually allegedly?) embezzled billions of kredits from one of the larger banks and traded it for £3,115. He was banned as a player, not for the theft, but for exchanging it for real cash, apparently a violation of TOS. The BBC article speculates he wouldn't have been banned for using the virtually ill-gotten gains within the game.

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