The article, The Life of the Chinese Gold Farmer, it talked about the life of people who make a living off of playing an online video game. The people who work in this kind of occupation are paid in real money by collecting fake money (the currency of the game, in this instance, gold from World of Warcraft). I was honestly in shock when I read this. I can’t believe how much the Internet has become as much a society as the actual world we live in. People can live two separate lives, one real and one virtual, and now they can actually make real money from their virtual lives. Dibbell states that, “it is no mere conceit to say that M.M.O.’s are just as much economies as games.” Virtual games are no longer solely a form of entertainment; they can now be used to generate income. Virtual games are turning into their own economies, which in turn are converging with our own real life economies.

 

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(Taken from: http://img.sxsw.com/2014/spg_images/IAP19512.png)

The Internet seems to be merging with the real world at a very exponential rate. A recent example of this is from the Linden Lab Case Study where IBM used Second Life to host a virtual conference about virtual games. One of the reasonings behind it was, “why not hold a conference on virtual worlds in a virtual world?” The conference consisted of over 200 people who were given instructions on how to navigate SL efficiently and comfortably. Overall, the conference seemed to be a glaring success, which also cost only 1/5 of what a normal FTF conference would have cost!!  The Internet is not only becoming engrained as a part of our social realms, but now also as a part of our economic and occupational worlds as well. Real life seems to be converging with technology. It both frightens and excites me to see how not only the Internet but technology as a whole is going to shape, change, and assimilate with reality in the next few years.

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On my way back from spring break this year, I sat next to a 19 year old college student who was telling me that he worked as a Beta tester for a big gaming company. When I asked him how much money he made from such an unorthodox job, he said he made about $45,000 a year! This absolutely blew my mind. He told me that the job didn’t even take up that much of his time, and that he was able to work as a Beta tester and go to school full time with no issues. It amazes me that people can make a living off of a virtual world. Gaming seems to be surmounting itself as the new “super” market next to Hollywood and professional movies. Games are creating new markets, new jobs and are fostering free enterprise; I can’t wait to see what the gaming industry is going to have in store for society a couple years down the road.

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