Truly, the notion of virtual property fascinates me immensely. I work through one of these role playing games and by virtue of that effort, I gain certain properties that have no worth in any real way but are quite valuable in-game. In real life, if I decide to sell something I’ve earned, I can do it. A garage sale, an on-line auction or through an ad in the paper, I can market the item and sell it as long as another person is willing to pay the amount I consider fair. But even with that there are certain limitations set by the government and other regulating agencies.
As reported in the BBC News, a Chinese man stabbed and killed another Shanghai gamer for a virtual sword in the game Legends of Mir 3. The sword, a dragon saber, is one of the more powerful weapons available in the game. Also, according to the news story, China does not have laws governing the sale of or protecting the possession of virtual property. On the other hand, Korea does. This is news to me – how can you govern this stuff?
Blizzard takes a dim view of people selling items from World of Warcraft for real cash – it is punishable by deletion of the player’s account under the terms and conditions of the EULA. Though Blizzard are probably the most militant of the MMORPG providers, some games not only allow the sale of items for real cash, but actively encourage it. There even gaming stock exchanges that allow you to trade virtual currencies from the games for real cash.
This story is quite shocking to me but I guess if a kid will kill another for his shoes, I should not be too surprised when such actions are taken for virtual property as well.
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