Second Life is many things, but among them is an attempt to build a virtual world that works more like the web (where anyone can add a site or a page) than a finished product that can only be modified by the corporation that manufactured it.
Read the rest
Epic Games makes the wildly successful multiplayer free-to-play game Fortnite, which is the locus of a pitched battle between players and publisher over game-mods, especially cheat-hacks that give unfair advantage to some players.
Read the rest
EVE Online ("spreadsheets in space") is an empire-building game that allows players to move real cash in and out of the game, a wrinkle that's spawned massive Ponzi schemes, a profitable espionage industry, and massive in-game wars, but even by the game's own bizarre standards, this week's "Judgement Day" attack is world-beating. Read the rest
Every Ozimal digirabbit in the venerable virtual world Second Life will starve to death (well, permanent hibernation) this week because a legal threat has shut down their food-server, and the virtual pets are designed so that they can only eat DRM-locked food, so the official food server's shutdown has doomed them all. Read the rest
I missed this story when it was published last Labor Day, but hey: when Steve Bannon was you know, a regular joe working for a scrappy, much-loved, all-American firm called Goldman Sachs, he directed a $60m investment in a company called Internet Gaming Entertainment, which was a marketplace for buying and selling World of Warcraft gold, ground out of the game by botmasters and sweatshop gold-farmers. Read the rest
I’ve said this before, but in the wake of the viral success of Pokémon GO, it needs to be said again. Augmented reality is just a virtual world, an MMO, a MUD even, with all of the same design issues, plus a few new ones.
The movie is tanking in the US, thanks to dismal reviews, but it had a $46M opening day in China, the best-ever midweek opening box-office in Chinese film history. Read the rest
Eve Online ("spreadsheets in space") is the infamously intricate massively multiplayer space trade/conquest game where real cash can be exchanged for in-game currency , making the battles fought there consequential in a way that sets it apart from other games. Read the rest
They were all running mods that let them automate away the tedious grinding that is so integral to the way that MMOs incentivize players to devote thousands of hours to their products. Read the rest
Jen Wang, the artist and writer who co-created the New York Times bestselling graphic novel In Real Life with me, is selling off her original art from the book. Read the rest
I've just come back to the UK from my US tour for In Real Life, the New York Times bestselling graphic novel Jen Wang and I made; I'll be launching it in London at the incomparable Orbital Comics, near Leicester Square, on the evening of Weds, 12 Nov. Read the rest
In Real Life is the book-length graphic novel adapted by Jen Wang from my short story Anda's Game, about a girl who encounters a union organizer working to sign up Chinese gold-farmers in a multiplayer game. Read the rest
Yesterday, FirstSecond formally announced the publication of In Real Life, a graphic novel about gaming and gold farming for young adults based on my award-winning story Anda's Game, adapted by Jen Wang, creator of the amazing graphic novel Koko Be Good. Jen did an incredible job with the adaptation.
Kotaku conducted a Q&A with Jen and me about the book and its themes, and lavishly illustrated it with art and panels from the book: Read the rest
Hugh Hancock writes, "'Death Knight Love Story,' is a World of Warcraft-based machinima fanfilm [ed: machinima is a form of animation made using video-game engines]. It was made using full 'Avatar'-style motion capture (using the same tech as X-Men First Class), with a score composed by a BAFTA nominated composer and voiced by Hollywood stars!" Read the rest
The leader of a clan of Chinese Warcraft fences has been sentenced to two years in prison and been fined $8,000 for buying stolen World of Warcraft logins, then logging into the accounts and selling off all their virtual gold and assets. They reportedly attacked 11,500 accounts and netted $10,800. Read the rest
High drama from the world of Eve Online, where a week ago, a spy stole 400 billion ISK, and this week, a trusted player who was secretly a spy masterminded the destruction of a rare ship worth 390 billion ISK (the in-game currency, not to be confused with Icelandic Krona). Eve is notorious for high-denomination economic shenanigans, including a credit crunch, a massive Ponzi scheme, large-scale espionage, another Ponzi scheme, and more. Read the rest
Here's a totally amazing and fascinating story about hyperinflation crashing the economy of Blizzard's massively multiplayer online RPG Diablo 3. Blizzard blew its economic strategy for Diablo 3 by making the "sinks" (places where gold is taken out of the economy) unattractive, adding in real-money-for-stuff trades, and then letting a bug run wild. Before you knew it, players were loading up virtual wheelbarrows full of virtual gold to buy virtual bread:
Read the rest
This was demonstrated when, in a message board entry prefaced by stating “Sell Equipment before Patch 1.0.5 Hits!” (a patch is a piece of software added to an operational program or application as bugs are found, changes desired, or ways of improving performance discovered), a player warned that,
Blizzard just announced that the drop rates for [certain] items are going to be doubled … if you haven’t already, you should consider converting your current gear to cash … since real $ [are] the best hedge against gold devaluation[.]
If historical cases of hyperinflation — real, and now virtual — have one thing in common, it is the instinct among its victims to blame the symptoms rather than the disease. The Austrian economist Hans Sennholz noted that during the German hyperinflation, “intrigue and artifice” were believed to be at work. Similarly, a handful of Diablo 3 players, frustrated about the decimation of their purchasing power, expressed increasing suspicion of manipulation and conspiracy theories.
[W]hy [are] certain items priced [s]o astronomically high? Many of them are not even that good yet cost 100’s of millions of gold.