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 Coward, 15 Aug 2006 @ 8:26pm

    If you can sell a virtual item online, (say, ebay) for real money. Then that virtual item has an actual, tangible, monetary value. The fact that you can sell it proves this.

    It's no different than an insurance company selling you a piece of paper that says you have coverage. That piece of paper isn't worth anything. But it's a tangible representation of an agreement that can be worth quite a bit. Hell you can buy an insurance policy entirely online with no papers at all. What did you get that was tangible? What did you get that had, real, monetary value? An insurance policy. The ONLY difference is that there are real world laws enforcing the insurance policy.

    An online-in game item can very easily have real value. More to some, less to others. Don't discount people losing stuff in games, just because YOU don't care about the game, or the stuff.

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