The entire idea behind making a living off of virtual worlds was a foreign concept to me until I started with this class. When I first heard of this phenomenon I thought really only of Second Life and how it was possible to make money in that world. I’m not someone who has ever played MMO games and never really understood how they worked so today’s readings really were a learning experience for me. In Second Life I only thought so far as selling items for Linden cash and then reverting that cash to real life currency which I had heard was possible. It never occurred to me that companies could host entire conferences such as what IBM did. This opens up a whole new set of possibilities for companies.
The biggest opportunity I see for companies besides just saving money by holding conferences in Second Life is also going through hiring and training and development sessions through Second Life. Companies spend an excess of money on hiring and training new employees and if that could be done online from the comfort of peoples homes it would be game changing for companies. Not only would they have to worry about the cost of using a space and using up numerous peoples time to organize such “events” but it would minimize travel costs. It’s amazing that companies can start transitioning more and more into the technological age by existing and operating online as well as in person.
I was also surprised to learn about gold farming. I knew MMO’s ran off of in game currency but I didn’t realize what went into those “coins” being available for people to buy. To know that people are working agonizingly long days simply sitting on a computer clicking was astonishing to me. Yet, these people seemed okay with what they were doing and didn’t feel like it was a horrible existence. I get that gold farming makes it harder for newer players to improve but what I didn’t understand is what all the animosity was about. I mean I don’t play these games but I don’t see what is so wrong with what these organizations are doing. It’s not like they are forcing gamers to buy their coins or are destroying the functionality of the games. Maybe I’m wrong in my thinking due to my limited knowledge but what I thought was a really great system was the raid parties that helped customers get valuable items by supporting them. On top of that what surprised me as well was that people are actually willing to pay to have someone else play for them just to level up. In the few games I do play half the fun for me is leveling up on my own and learning the skills involved.
While I’ve been playing around on Second Life I’ve noticed tons and tons of situations and products that can be bought for Linden dollars and I’ve considered what it would be like to create items and sell them to essentially create a profit. It seems like a great idea but the more I think about I realize I’m not nearly creative enough or have enough time to pull off what a lot of these people do in order to make money in these games. I can only imagine that it’s essentially a full time job. It’s definitely something I’ve thought about though while playing.