Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Dark Side of Second Life (BW)

Can anyone really be surprised by this? 

Excellent reference in this context: Synthetic Worlds: The Business and Culture of Online Games

The fuss? Many wanted to know what Second Life's creators planned to do about a new program, nicknamed CopyBot, that enables users to quickly copy characters, objects, and buildings, potentially eroding the value of people's virtual property. Others wanted to know about viruses with the alleged potential to steal members' identifying information. Still others were worried about the growing menace of mafias and gangs that are forcing members out of public areas. "These groups are very threatening and frustrating to deal with," wrote Eric Erskine in a Nov. 16 post on a Second Life community discussion group. "They took over the SoulMates dance club and ran every AV (avatar) off except mine…permanently ban mobs, gangstas, and mafias!"

It would seem the virtual world is facing a very real-world problem: crime. As more people have joined the global virtual community—it now boasts more than 1 million members—residents are grappling with how to secure property ownership and ensure public well-being. The difficulty of that task was underscored Nov. 19 when a worm attack called "grey goo" forced Second Life to close down for a short time. The worm installed spinning objects in the virtual world that slowed the servers as users tried to interact with them.

Source: The Dark Side of Second Life

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