Since I am relatively new to the virtual world, there is so much to it that I have yet to consider. For instance, I took for granted the fact that in second life millions of players can log in and play the game at once, never considering that there was a time when online gaming was limited to bringing only small amounts of people together. Technology has come a long, long way and Castronova discusses this in his article. He also poses the question, with the expansion of online gaming and virtual worlds, are we harming or helping ourselves? Aside from Castronova’s predications of an erosion of ethics and abandonment of societal constructs, I believe we are already treading in muddy waters.
From spending time in Second Life, I witnessed first hand how much time people can spend in these virtual worlds along with the way in which they interact with one another. Everything one does online is at will, there are no consequences in virtual worlds but the consequences in real life are hefty. I completely agree with Castronova that whats important right now is that we all pay attention and are aware of the changes that are occurring due to this obsession with online gaming. He explains why we should care and quite honestly, I never thought of it in that context. “This technology can be deployed for all kinds of purposes, some of them wonderful, others pointless but innocent, others frightening. We absolutely have to take stock of whatever implications we can see and then consider what to do” (Castronova, 251). This is an excellent approach that should be embraced worldwide.We must fist understand what is happening and then apply in in real time.
I have yet to have my life personally affected by online gaming however I have heard stories as well as witnessed a few relationships dissolve. It is a matter of becoming active and informed. The predictions made in this article are not ones of the distant future but ones that will occur within our lifetime. Now is the time to put the pieces of the puzzle together and make some necessary changes in the way we act online and off.