Running with the Big Dogs - by Julie Whitefeather
Jun 11, 2007 02:06:58

"If you can't run with the big dogs stay on the porch" - when it comes to slogans, this used to be one of my favorites, and it is one that applies here. It is here were real fortunes have been made in virtual worlds. In the end user world of MMOs it is where the big dogs run. In an interesting twist to me, it is where the END user makes big bucks. This is the world of virtual realty and virtual banking. Not a big part of the MMO industry to be true. But anything that can make ANYONE a seven figure income based on a game they play has earned a healthy degree of respect. These are the people who struck when the iron was hot.

This new trend where a virtual economy is not the result of a game that is played, but rather a virtual universe in which one works is the most interesting to me. If the plans work out for the developers and producers of one particular virtual economy, it is likely to end up the alpha dog - that virtual economy is Entropia Universe.

I was going to start out with the small fortunes (if any fortune that is made can ever be considered small) but this is just too good not to start with. I first heard about the deal that MindArk had been working on with headlines such as these:

"One of the World's Largest Virtual Economies Partners With Chinese Cyber-Giant to Create a New Network Capable of Handling 7 Million Concurrent Users and $1 Billion in Commerce Annually" - Marketwire.com

For those of you who may not have heard of Entropia Universe (and I am imagine that is very few of you at this point) it does have elements in common with MMOs such as skills and special items. However the real interest is the fact that virtual items acquired within Entropia Universe have a real world cash value. PED (Project Entropia Dollars) can be redeemed into real world Dollars at fixed values. And THIS my friends sets the stage for one VERY interesting development.

Why?

For me it goes back to the works of an author named William Gibson. Ever heard the term "Cyberverse"? William Gibson is the man who coined the term. In his book Neuromancer he first used the term "matrix" to describe a visualized internet - a virtual world in which people live and work. Sound familiar now? I read the headlines above on Marketwire and it was as if someone had announced the creation of a real "Matrix".

In theory, if not in practice, the only thing missing from Entropia Universe and the arrangement with Cyber Recreation Development Corporation in China is a plug that goes from the computer to your medulla oblongata, and Laurence Fishburn asking you if you want to take "the red pill or the blue pill".

Unlike Keanu Reeves, however, I will take the blue bill and take a look at the world of virtual reality realty - but more about that next time.

See you online

- Julie Whitefeather

Submitted by Brent on Jun 11, 2007 02:06:58 CST (comments: 1)


Comments:


'In the right place at the right time' by scytale2
Submitted on 2007-06-15 14:54:32 CST
Having had a quick look at Entropia Universe for the first time in a few years, I found it to be vastly improved but still as dull as ditchwater.

I fail to see how being in the right place at the right time with the only untarnished product deserves some healthy respect. If truth be known, I find the Chinese government to be the ones deserving the healthy respect for their vision in supporting this type of development. I hope MindArk are up to it...

Thanks for the Neuromancer info - I've ordered a copy. For sure you're right this is a very interesting development, although I don't really sense any negativity about it...




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