On the first day of 2006, Rajeev Saxena, a college student, bought
himself a house. It was not just a flat, in a residential block.
Instead it was a huge bungalow by the sea side. The look and size of
his palace can easily put even a palace to shame. It was too perfect
except for one glitch.
The house was virtual.
Welcome to the brave new world of virtual planet or so you can call. No
type of game has altered the PC gaming landscape more than massively
multiplayer online games, where anywhere from thousands to hundreds of
thousands of players join to share an online experience or even shape a
This phenomenon, which has existed before in the past in small ways
from the very beginning of the internet, is now a full blown industry
and for some a full time occupaition.
This situation has arisen from the arrival on the gaming scene of what
is termed as Massively Multi-Player Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs).
One such game called Ultima Online, creates a fantasy world, where
people have jobs as blacksmiths, kinghts in shining armour and what
have you. These people's imaginary jobs get them imaginary benefits in
the imaginary world. Virtual make believe worlds increasingly
interacting with the real world.
Tired of life? Get a second life.
In the online world of Second Life, players are given a chance to put
their money where their mouths are -- in a very literal sense.Not only
does it enable its players to design and build a staggering variety of
new content for the game, it lets them trade their creations for real
Second Life's currency -- Linden dollars-- can be bought and sold on
the Second Life website, or from the usual MMO real-money-trading
sources. They have an exchange rate that fluctuates with economic
conditions. Currently one US dollar buys about 275 Linden dollars.
An MMORPG follows a client-server model in which players, running the
client software, are represented in the game world by an avatar — this
is usually a graphical representation of the character they play.
Providers, usually the game's publisher, host the persistent worlds
these players inhabit.
This interaction between a virtual world, always
available for play, and an ever-changing, potentially worldwide stream
of players characterizes the MMORPG genre.
Once a player enters the game world they can engage in a variety of
activities with other players ranging from chat with their friends or
guild members to teaming up in order to kill large enemies or to
complete complex tasks or quests that are not achievable alone.
MMORPGs are immensely popular, with several commercial games reporting
millions of subscribers. South Korea boasts the highest subscription
Check out some interesting facts ...
• In 2002, GNP per capita of the fictional game-world of EverQuest was
calculated as $2,000, comparable to that of Bulgaria, and far higher
than that of India or China.
• By working in the game to generate virtual wealth and then selling
the results for real money, it is possible to generate about $3.50 per hour.
• Companies in China pay thousands of people, known as farmers, to play
MMORPGs all day, and then profit from selling the in-game goods they
generate to other players for real money.
• Land and other in-game property has been sold for huge sums: one
Project Entropia player paid $26,500 for an island in the game's
virtual world last year, and has already made his money back by selling
hunting and mining rights to other players.
• Trade in virtual items is now worth more than $100m each year.
Will the virtual world take over the real world? It is already possible
to make a living by working in a virtual world, as the farmers
demonstrate. In one survey, 20% of MMORPG players said they regarded
the game world as their real place of residence; the earth is just
where they eat and sleep.