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Reader Comments (26)

Posted: Jul 17th 2010 12:19PM (Unverified) said

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And you didn't even take into consideration the ridiculous amounts of money some people spent on fossil fuels, and the things that are powered with them. If it's just about the usefulness, nobody would ever consider buying a SUV, or anything bigger than a Toyota Corolla. And actually, spending a lot of time in virtual environments did indeed change my perspective and makes ME wonder at the crazy things people spend money (lots of it) for in the physical world.

Posted: Jul 17th 2010 12:32PM Saker said

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Worst part is people very often believe they are "entitled" to cheap gas, and the wasteful gas-guzzlers. The US has had how many wars recently that there is at least the idea in many peoples minds that they were about cheap oil. Cheap oil and the absolute belief that the american people are just plain entitled to cheap gas. Entitled to cheap gas, even though everyone else in the world pays much more... But that's because we saved the world from Hitler, and communism! err.. yah.. that's why!
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Posted: Jul 24th 2010 10:40PM (Unverified) said

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Cars larger than a Toyota Corolla are needed by some. I live in a rural area where many need trucks or SUV's to operate farms or ranches. When it has been raining and the creeks are high I cannot get in and out of my house in a car the size of a Corolla. It'd stall out from the creek water flooding over the only road. Everyone does not and does not want to live in a major city.

@M
The price of gasoline in most countries, and in the USA, is artificially high because of taxes. The US has high taxes on gasoline but most countries have even higher taxes. US companies buy their oil on the same open market as everyone else. If the price of gasoline is too high compared to the US then the citizens of those countries should confront their political rulers.

The idea that the US has gone to war is ludicrous. We have not taken over the oil fields or sent oil back to the US. Iraq is selling what oil they produce on the open market for anyone to buy.
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Posted: Jul 17th 2010 12:37PM Enikuo said

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I'm a little confused. It seems like you're attacking gamers and the readers here. Where in the world did this aggressive article come from? And why is it on a blog for gamers that spend a LOT of time in virtual worlds, collecting virtual items?

Posted: Jul 17th 2010 12:40PM (Unverified) said

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Read again.
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Posted: Jul 17th 2010 12:43PM (Unverified) said

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I'm definitely not attacking either group :)
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Posted: Jul 17th 2010 12:44PM Enikuo said

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"World of Warcraft gamers, many of you spent US$25 on a Celestial Steed, the primary functions of which are to look good and make you feel happy."

That has the tone of - "look guys, you're being hypocrites."

"Let's not get started on the hundreds of US dollars you spent on that frock and shoes that you'll likely only wear once and is, essentially, entirely for show."

Who is that directed at? Because it certainly sounds like it is directed at the reader.

"Maybe what makes many of us feel uncomfortable about virtual environments is that – in replicating the activities we perform offline – they tend to highlight the superficiality of many aspects of our daily lives whose importance and depth we normally take for-granted and leave unexamined."

Makes "us" feel uncomfortable about the superficiality of our daily lives. Who exactly is "us?"

Maybe you need to read again.
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Posted: Jul 17th 2010 12:47PM (Unverified) said

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I'm with the article, and the thoughts therein. If you're offended, I'm sorry.
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Posted: Jul 17th 2010 12:52PM (Unverified) said

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Hmm. I'm not sure how you're reading offense into those passages, I'm afraid. They're certainly not intended as criticisms.
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Posted: Jul 17th 2010 1:05PM Enikuo said

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The article using "you" a lot to project thoughts an actions onto the reader. I don't see how that isn't really obvious to anyone. But, we can agree to disagree. I'm don't disagree with the sentiments, but I still think the tone of the article is wrong.
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Posted: Jul 17th 2010 1:30PM (Unverified) said

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Honestly, Acelin, I just don't see how those bits can be read as attacking gamers or anybody else. The point is, we all spend money on things that make us happy, and this is healthy and normal.
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Posted: Jul 17th 2010 5:44PM (Unverified) said

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Way to entirely miss the point of the article. You didn't just miss it, you ran headlong in the opposite direction.
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Posted: Jul 17th 2010 4:06PM Enikuo said

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@Blackstream - I got the point of the article - virtual goods and experiences can be as valid as real or tangible goods and experience. I get it.

I disagree with the tone in this context. It's not like gamers that bought sparkle ponies are the ones that need to be convinced that it's okay to buy virtual property. Or, that gamers who bought virtual clothing need a preachy lesson to help them understand why that is as valid as spending money on real clothes. Or, that anyone that reads Massively is likely to feel uncomfortable in a virtual world.
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Posted: Jul 17th 2010 5:47PM (Unverified) said

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The article isn't about anything you said in your second paragraph though, which is why I'm not sure you really do understand what this article is about. He may be preaching to the choir, but it's not condemning it either.
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Posted: Jul 17th 2010 2:05PM Enikuo said

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I felt the tone was finger-pointing. I showed it to a friend who had the same reaction. Tateru Nino is free to examine that or completely blow it off. I don't know how to explain it any better than I already have.

Posted: Jul 17th 2010 2:15PM (Unverified) said

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The ideas presented in the article aren't bad or accusatory, however I agree that the continuous use of the secondary "you" does make it seem that way. Using different phrasing would go a long way to making the article the neutrally oriented discussion that I beleve it was inteded to be.

Example: "Many World of Warcraft gamers spent US$25 on a Celestial Steed, the primary functions of which are to look good and make the player feel happy."
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Posted: Jul 17th 2010 2:22PM (Unverified) said

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I love the sparkle pony. What's wrong with that?
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Posted: Jul 17th 2010 3:41PM (Unverified) said

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That example was of how the phrasing could be changed to make the statements sound more neutral, it had nothing to do with WoW or the sparkle pony.
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Posted: Jul 17th 2010 2:44PM tidalkraken said

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The problem is not that sex is a big market in Second Life. The problem is that sex is THE ONLY real market

I was a big name merchant in SL for almost three years. Lately, thanks to returning to school, I have taken a sabbatical and my store is driving what I call "standby sales".
In order to stay a big name for so long, I had to adapt my products to the current market trends, and here is the precise order in which they evolved:

Building aids -> Sculpt packs -> animations for builders -> clothing -> furniture -> sex furniture -> sex animations -> full-permission sex furniture/animations/engines.

I am a diagnosed erotophobe, to drive the point home. I did all of the aforementioned markets simply for the money. And what money there was to be had. In my heyday I was pulling on average 80,000L$ a week (over 400$ to the non-SL residents). Not bad for one person and their virtual store, even if I abhorred the products I was selling.
Yes, people will spend a huge amount of money on things that allow them to look good, or act somehow different. As a merchant I see no problem with this.

HOWEVER, whenever I hear people in Second Life lamenting the fact that the media is portraying their metaverse as nothing but a depraved sex pit, I have to hold up a mirror and force them to take a good look at themselves. You can not say "There's so much more to this world! and I am offended!" when your profile clearly states that you are A) a BDSM submissive / master, B) the owner of a sex store, or C) "sexy", "fun", "open minded". Clearly, you aren't there for the other reasons as a primary concern.

Furthermore, the situation you are referring to, of others bashing SL for sucking up huge amounts of money, doesn't really ring true anymore. If you look at the Second Life marketplace (or, as we used to call it, SLexchange), you'll notice that nothing in the top 50 items surpasses maybe 400L$ tops. In fact, most items that used to cost thousands now costs as little as 50L. One of my best-selling products, a HUD called the LoveLife, was de-throned by a 200L$ sex HUD that did everything mine did and more. Upon asking the vendor why they made it so cheap, they simply responded "to make a little money to spend in SL".
More power to content creators for making stuff cheaper and of good quality, it speaks well for the consumer and therefore asks less money of them, but the end result is a market that is so competitive that absolutely no one can make any L$ without demolishing their prices. Merchants only make money via volume, and therefore only people with a large nest egg can go into successful business nowadays. This shuts out any other competition, keeps prices low so that they can advertise by sheer numbers, and honestly just trashes the whole in-game economy.
Remember the days when everything you wanted could only cost 10L$, Tateru? Remember how LL removed those sales from the public eye? that started the new inexpensive trend that defeats most of what you're talking about.

As for the whole "The media only reports sex" thing... well, just read your comment! "If what you want to do with a virtual environment is chat with interesting people, dress attractively, have a ton of sex and have a nice place to do it in – and to do all of it on the cheap – well, why the heck not?". I agree with your basic point, that everything that can be done should be done if it makes you happy, but why do you focus primarily on sex? Is that YOUR driving SL force?

Once again, SL residents need to look in a mirror.

Posted: Jul 17th 2010 3:01PM Dblade said

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Of course something is wrong with it, because the virtual things are inferior copies or abstractions. A collection of 3d polygon plants will never match the feeling of soil in your hands, the smell of real flowers, and the way they look with dew shining on them in the morning. Sex is ten times worse: imagine writing the worst, clumsiest erotica with people you have no connection to, don't even know their real life name or gender, and are often nuts. It isn't just appearances: these things in real life are more than that.

The problem is why people spend so much money, time, and effort chasing copies of the real thing. Worse copies: furries, goreans, voraphiles, and just about every deviancy you can find on the net makes its way to second life to sell merchandise and open up a storefront.

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