Call 911, He Stole My Magic Sword

from the the-sheriff-of-WoW dept

At a gaming conference, Microsoft warned that multi-player online games have significant security vulnerabilities, and that the growing value of in game assets was a juicy target for criminals. As we've seen in the past, MMORPGs are facing more and more real world complications as people invest an increasing amount of money into them. This problem is only going to get worse; as one Microsoft researcher put it, "The police are really good at understanding someone stole my credit card and ran up a lot of money. It's a lot harder to get them to buy into 'someone stole my magic sword.'" But before discussing how law enforcement can address the situation, game developers and players should try to define the border between the game and the real world. For example, most people would accept that if your character is mugged inside a game, then that's part of the gameplay, not a legal issue. But what about counterfeiting gold pieces? What about running a script inside the game that transfers gold from one player to another? Before diverting law enforcement resources to rectify players' complaints, companies running online games need to strive to develop their own security measures that satisfy their players.

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  1. identicon
    Adam, 15 Aug 2006 @ 3:54pm

    "Sorry, but people can (and will!) sue when they think they've lost something of value. Even if YOU don't see it as valuable. Open your eyes to the world you live in, not just the narrow bit that applied directly to you."

    Actually, they can't sue for losing an imaginary sword of magic. Because they never OWNED such an item. The only thing they legally own is the game install software, and the bits of data on their hard drive. In an MMORPG the items your characters have are stored on the developers database. They own the bits, and allow the servers to send the required info so that such items appear in your imaginary inventory once you log into their servers.

    Therefor you can not sue for losing a fake item, as you never owned it to begin with. Just as you can not sue a game company for shutting down their game servers, which would mean you lost access to everything you thought had value. It is all just different states of data being sent to your PC. One state makes it look like you have something, another state looks like you don't.

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