Games People Play

Written by Sam Vaknin

Games and role-playing are as ancient as Mankind. Rome's state-sponsored lethal public games may have accounted for up to one fifth of its GDP. They often lasted for months. Historical re-enactments, sports events, chess - are all manifestations of Man's insatiable desire to be someone else, somewhere else - and to learn fromrepparttar experience.

Last week, Jeff Harrow, in his influential and eponymous "Harrow Technology Report", analyzedrepparttar 133563 economics of Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG). These are 3-D games which take place in comprehensively and minutely constructed environments - a medieval kingdom beingrepparttar 133564 favorite. "Gamers" use action figures known as avatars to represent themselves. These animated figurines walk, talk, emote, and are surprisingly versatile.

Harrow quoted this passage from regarding Sony's (actually, Verant's) "EverQuest". It is a massive MMORPG with almost half a million users - each paying c. $13 a month:

"(Norrath, EverQuest's ersatz world is) ...repparttar 133565 77th largest economy inrepparttar 133566 [real] world! [It] has a gross national product per capita of $2,266, making its economy larger than eitherrepparttar 133567 Chinese or Indian economy and roughly comparable to Russia's economy".

In his above quoted paper, "Virtual Worlds: A First-Hand Account of Market and Society onrepparttar 133568 Cyberian Frontier", Professor Edward Castronova, from California State University at Fullerton, notes that:

"The nominal hourly wage (in Norrath) is about USD 3.42 per hour, andrepparttar 133569 labors ofrepparttar 133570 people produce a GNP per capita somewhere between that of Russia and Bulgaria. A unit of Norrath's currency is traded on exchange mark ets at USD 0.0107, higher thanrepparttar 133571 Yen andrepparttar 133572 Lira. The economy is characterized by extreme inequality, yet life there is quite attractive to many."

Players - in contravention ofrepparttar 133573 game's rules - also trade in EverQuest paraphernalia and characters offline. The online auction Web site, eBay, is flooded with them and people pay real money - sometimes up to a thousand dollars - for avatars and their possessions. Auxiliary and surrogate industries sprang around EverQuest and its ilk. There are, for instance, "macroing" programs that emulaterepparttar 133574 actions of a real-life player - a no-no.

Nor is EverQuestrepparttar 133575 largest. The Korean MMORPG "Lineage" boasts a staggering 2.5 million subscribers.

The economies of these immersive faux realms suffer from very real woes, though. In its May 28 issue, "The New Yorker" recountedrepparttar 133576 story of Britannia, one ofrepparttar 133577 nether kingdoms ofrepparttar 133578 Internet:

"The kingdom, which is stuck somewhere betweenrepparttar 133579 sixth andrepparttar 133580 twelfth centuries, has a single unit of currency, a gold piece that looks a little like a biscuit. A network of servers is supposed to keep track of allrepparttar 133581 gold, just as it keeps track of everything else onrepparttar 133582 island, but in late 1997 bands of counterfeiters found a bug that allowed them to reproduce gold pieces more or less at will.

The fantastic wealth they produced for themselves was, of course, entirely imaginary, and yet it led, in textbook fashion, to hyperinflation. Atrepparttar 133583 worst point inrepparttar 133584 crisis, Britannia's monetary system virtually collapsed, and players all overrepparttar 133585 kingdom were reduced to bartering."

Britannia - run by Ultima Online - has 250,000 "denizens", each charged c. $10 a month. An average Britannian spends 13 hours a week inrepparttar 133586 simulated demesne. For many, this constitutes their main social interaction. Psychologists warn againstrepparttar 133587 addictive qualities of this recreation.

Web Services: Revolution or Evolution?

Written by Camille Jacks

Web Services: Revolution or Evolution?

Can smaller vendors hope to compete with larger ones where it counts most?

Web services have had to struggle simply to justify their blossoming presents inrepparttar IT sales and marketing industry. Until recently when unfortunate circumstances provided a platform for software free independent technologies to prevail asrepparttar 133562 most logical choice whenever and wherever possible.

Now that businesses and customers ofrepparttar 133563 industry are in a position to accept these new modified and advanced application smaller vendors are being pushed aside by larger ones.

This has been on going part of globalization sincerepparttar 133564 beginning, typically, what can endure is what is most often then appreciated. Still this level of endurance must depend on some certainties in order to do, just that.

Competing againstrepparttar 133565 mass marketing campaigns of more brand centric businesses is a gross improbability for smaller companies. What is left then is to simply continue on withinrepparttar 133566 principles of who knowsrepparttar 133567 most regarding programming that may best make it accessible to a new market of internet dependent companies and individuals.

The trade media in IT so often favors any idea or development based solely onrepparttar 133568 brand attached to it that little is being done to filter out what is good from what is just more puff marketing. Businesses must focus on generating revenue but more credibility is being handed over unearned based on subconscious familiarity rather than hands on experience.

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