Many people are involved with online gaming and for some it is a way to make a living. It has become a fairly big business with many gamers in China farming gold and items in games such as World of Warcraft and then selling them for real money. I came across this documentary that highlights some of the methods and tells the story from both sides.
However, it was this article that caught my eye and made me think that the lines between gaming and real life were beginning to get a little bit mixed up. I would also like to state that I don’t think computer games cause people to be violent, money on the other hand can. The article tells the story about 19 year old student that was really into a mmorpg RuneScape. I have never played RuneScape but after a quick search it appears that you control your character and can level up, partake in some questing and interact with other players online. You can also buy items with money that you earn through different challenges.
This is where the blurring begins as the 19 year old student was looking to buy this online money with real money except his real money was actually fake and this is where things became a little crazy. On the 19 year-old’s second attempt to buy this online money with fake currency and being caught out again he proceeded to pull out a BB gun and demand that the person he was trying to get the online money from make the transfer. The 19 yr old student was caught with the help of CCTV cameras and is now facing up to 15 years in jail because of his actions.
Computer games can be challenging and enjoyable and this is why people choose to put time into trying to either complete games or developing characters to the highest level possible. It is when this competitiveness and perhaps frustration at not being able to get to a point as fast as you would like leads to incidents like the one above. This is of course an extreme example of games becoming involved in real life and the makers of RuneScape are looking to ban players trading online cash for real money. Is it time that games developers start to think about impacts of their work outside of the gaming world they create?
Do you think that the gaming world is beginning to cross over to the real world a little too easily? What are your thoughts on the above example, is jail the best answer here? Please let us know in the comments section.
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