In his column at The Guardian today, blogger, novelist and technology activist Cory Doctorow claims that the ability of a player to make money from the time they invest in an MMO has become not only a key marketing point for the developers of such games, but an important part of the realisation of a virtual world. In his own words:
Many games are structured to reward time spent playing with virtual gold stars that act as decoration and play aid, and confer virtual bragging rights. So it’s a sign of a game’s success when one player values a virtual item so much that she’s willing to pay another player for the object, even though it is nothing more than a record in a database.
It is especially interesting to observe this issue from Doctorow’s perspective. For him, the issue forms part of a broader context of the struggle between the existing legal framework of the West and the increasingly convoluted copyright infringements which have become a daily occurrence on the web.