Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Second Life

I recently heard about a pretty cool MMO, not new (it's been out for a few years now) but very cool. The "game" is called Second Life.

It's essentially a freeform space that allows "residents" the ability to buy land and build anything they want on it using their own textures and geometric primitives. Scripts can even be added to in game objects with a c/java like language to bring them to life.

The site claims that there are people who made all or part of their real life living providing a wide array of services in game. In addition to buying services or in-game objects and scripts, players can also buy and rent land, and exchange in game currency (Linden Dollars) for US Dollars at an official site or a number of player run sites.

Of course this concept is nothing new. People have been selling and buying virtual items and currency for as long as massively multiplayer persistent worlds have existed. Second Life is unique, however, in that they encourage this free market economy, even giving players full intellectual property rights and ownership of anything they possess or create in game.

Sort of makes me wonder... if people can make their entire living through such an online world, what if it were possible to hook yourself permanently into such a world? Perhaps leaving your body in some sort of life support, perhaps (even more futuristic) discarding it completely. Of course such scenarios are the bread and butter of futuristic cyber-punk horror stories. But might people actually do so voluntarily? What if it was a way to save off physical death? To live forever in a Second Life?

3 Comments:

Blogger Lewis said...

Whoa! There was a deep end to that post that I didn't expect when I waded into the beginning. I was going to tell you that I have (had?) a character in Second Life, but much like my games of Myst V, it has lain idle for months. The concept seemed very interesting, but I have all these things I have to do in RL that keep interfering :-).

As far as staving (I think that is what you meant to write) off death by downloading into a MMORG, I think you are assuming a radical mind/body split that many people would question. Whatever we might download into a computer system, it wouldn't be the totality of who we are as flesh and blood humans. Conscious, maybe. Unaware that our perceived bodies weren't organic, maybe. But the system would be different. Not necessary bad, just different. I don't think we would be staving off anything, just choosing something different.

You gonna join Second Life? Watch out -- I hear it is habit-forming.

8:46 PM  
Blogger MiT Gr8 1 said...

O.o

It can't be any more habit-forming than World of Warcrack.....

LFM RL pst!

9:25 PM  
Blogger Geoff said...

Since it's free I was planning to try it out.

On a side note, it's interesting that mmorpgs are so addictive. For World of Warcraft I understand why. At the base it's really the people you meet in the world. So I suppose it's the same for Second Life. On the other hand, you meet a lot of people in Real Life as well, but people don't talk about it being addictive (although it probably meets the criteria--I mean I spend a lot of time "playing" it) :).

9:50 AM  

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