Since I can't post on the thread about online sweatshops

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Gundark Viresdator
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Since I can't post on the thread about online sweatshops

Quote:There's a world of difference between making sneakers and watching bots fight all day.

That's a pretty true statement, I think. Given the choice between sewing Nike shoes together with my bare hands or running a bot, I suppose the choice would be easy in that situation.

That's not to say that this type of taking advantage of poor people is excusable or has any redeeming qualities for "Smooth Criminal" and his ilk. But that's the story of newly created industries, repeated time and time again throughout history. It is amazing how the "free market" will find and fill any niche, in any way possible. It is at the same time both a testament to the power of capitalism, and an indictment of its failures.

I've always been fascinated with the economic results that the online communities create. Economics is a crazy science, crazy enough in the "real world", and apparently even moreso online. Sometimes the results are anticipated; more often they are not. I'm sure the examples in this article could never have been anticipated (or prevented) by the creators of the game software. I don't find it inherrently evil or good-- just ... money driven.

Hi, my name is Gundark, and I'm an alchemyholic.

lizwool
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Re: Since I can't post on the thread about online sweatshops

I changed the security, so you can reply to those threads. I copied this reply over to that one.

Liz

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Re: Since I can't post on the thread about online sweatshops

Quote:I've always been fascinated with the economic results that the online communities create. Economics is a crazy science, crazy enough in the "real world", and apparently even moreso online. Sometimes the results are anticipated; more often they are not. I'm sure the examples in this article could never have been anticipated (or prevented) by the creators of the game software. I don't find it inherrently evil or good-- just ... money driven.

Do you not think that the gaming companies could control it if they really wanted to? They are the "gods" of their digital universes, aren't they? All powerful. Perhaps they can't eradicate it completely, but certainly they could make it so difficult for sleazeballs like Smooth Criminal to make a buck that they'll go back to selling crack or whatever they did before they started their cyber sweatshops.

What really bothers me about the whole thing is that these operations inflate the virtual economies and make it more difficult for the actual players, perhaps causing them to spend even more time online. Come to think of it, that just benefits the gaming companies, doesn't it? So they've no incentive to stop it, have they? Anyway, if you haven't read it already, here's a link to a great article in Wired about virtual economies.

Diggo McDiggity
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Re: Since I can't post on the thread about online sweatshops

Quote:Do you not think that the gaming companies could control it if they really wanted to?Possibly - but not without countless man-hours trending transactions. To a computer the transfer of items or in game money is just ones and zeros - There is no indication of why the money is being transferred, whether a loan from one friend to another or the purchase of an in-game item, etc.
One of the 'problems' with in-game economies are that they represent the same real-life greed we have in the world around us. The misguided goal is to accumulate as much wealth as possible. This is partially motivated by, at least in one popular game today, the need for a huge lump sum of 'gold' needed when you reach a certain level to buy a "mount" or animal you ride to help you move around the world faster. If you consider the sheer number of real life hours it takes to accumulate that kind of cash in game versus buying cash for real life dollars, I could understand how some just aren't willing to commit the time and just shell out the money.

Does it hurt the player who does the hard work and earns his own way? Nope. And in fact, the higher prices for items because of this means that he can earn the money he needs even faster if he just takes the time to 'work' the economy in game. People only see the high prices things cost in game...not that they too can reap the benefits of becoming part of the process.

But to get back on topic, the stockholders of these game makers don't give a "tunnel-rat's" arse about the in game economy. Is their company, the one they own stock in, making a profit? They don't care about the players. They don't care about the players who play 20 hours a day and what problem that is causing in their lives. They don't care about the Chinese gold farmers. They only care that people are playing the game and that the company is making money and that their stock is increasing in value.

See? The in game economies are only reflection of the real life greed going on all around us.

I miss my carefree childhood :P

Ron

Ron Jaffe AKA Diggo McDiggity
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boredhousewife677
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Re: Since I can't post on the thread about online sweatshops

If people can figure out how to make macros to "cheat" the games, it seems logical develops could figure out how to make tools to discover the cheaters, if they wanted to. Perhaps they already have. The game companies could also offer the same items for sale themselves, at discounted prices. That would certainly take the wind out of the sails of the sweatshop owners, hehehe.

Edited by: boredhousewife677 at: 7/9/05 11:58

Diggo McDiggity
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Re: Since I can't post on the thread about online sweatshops

Yes, I agree...
But as Microsoft has learned, the functionality that they have added to allow people to create 'add-ons' to enhance their products, is the same functionality that people exploit for not-so-admirable ends.

At it's base level, modern games like World of Warcraft, despite the high-resolution video, stereo sounds etc, are just a bunch of lines of program code. Probably millions of lines. Just like the U.S. can't protect every inch of its borders, it's impossible to secure every hack-point of their program code...especially when the game is constantly being modified and added-to.

A challenge, to be sure.

Ron

Ron Jaffe AKA Diggo McDiggity
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