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
    Anonymous Brave, 15 Aug 2006 @ 4:03pm

    This is an interesting subject. Virtual money, magic swords, uber loot and the works are just that; virtual. Not real. They're actually not even the property of you, but the game license holder. But the time you invest in some of these items could be worth alot indeed. Time does = money after all.

    On this subject, read this article from PC Gamer UK:
    http://eve.klaki.net/heist/

    In short, it's about a group of people who infiltrates another corporation (=guild) as part of a contract killing, spends a year or so under cover whilst puppeteering events to gain trust and positions of power, then one day deal the lethal blow by emptying all corporate shared items hangars, the corporate wallet and destroying an extremely rare space vessel. Estimated damage; around 40 billion ISK (in-game currency) or $16,500 US Dollars. Gives perspective on things. Incidentally, this article is why EVE Online has such a large amount of UK players.

    My opinion though is this: what happens in the game, stays in the game.

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