I was surprised to realize how many people are involved in making money through VW’s. It became immediately apparent through all the contexts that the lowest class people playing and avatars in the game are oppressed and really do struggle. (Castronova) The low level players are making .30 cents an hour and the people up the chain are selling what these people create for $20 a pop. (Dibbell 4) Talk about exploitation! Even the Avatars in the game that struggle to make ends meet have it hard. Slaying rats and selling the pieces yet still being unable to get ahead is rough duty!
For people to call this work is a big deal. VW’s can be accessed from anywhere and used by anyone with the technology. This affords the VW “bosses” to use people that have no other opportunity to do the low level work. Li Qweyn is the perfect example of someone that is exploited for cheap labor. He is making garbage pay yet working 362/365 twelve-hour days each year. It is absurd means for these bosses to use people like him to reach a means that is much greater for themselves.
Norrath in its entirety baffles me. It is so farfetched to me still that people can spend their lives in an online world. At any rate, Narrath is working to make some good money. Its crazy! In Castronova’s article, there is mention of initial buy-in’s, monthly fees, and other accessories that all make money for the game creators, but more-so for businesspeople within the realm of the game. People actually create shoes and sell them for people to purchase and dress their avatars in.
Norrath is “similar to earth” in that it has limits to its natural resources and you can’t just pick money off a tree. This is referred to as the physicality of the game. (Castranova 8) This has an effect on people that makes them want to spend more time and gain levels and regalia to become more powerful. The next aspect that makes VW’s able to generate revenue is their persistence. They run 24/7 and can have millions of users running around at any given time.
IBM took a great angle on VW’s. They launched a program of using Second Life as a place to host meetings and events. From a business standpoint this is a great idea. IBM discovered this tactic gave them an ROI of about $320,000. This is great for a large business such as IBM. Though the cost savings are tremendous, nothing can replace a face-to-face meeting. For a conference, this is actually a fantastic idea. I still lacks in being personal and that feeling you can get when someone is actually there with you is impossible to mimic.