Monday, October 16, 2006

Week #3 Continued: Write a blog post about something technology related

7. I was flicking through the Guinness Book of Records and found the record for the highest price paid for a plot of Virtual land. This was about US$23,000 for an island in the online game Entropia.

Having looked over the Entropia website, I admit I'm fascinated by the idea of virtual currency (the Project Entropia Dollar or PED) having an exchange rate with the US dollar. The idea isn't new to me as the online game Second Life also has a currency than can be bought and sold for real cash, some people make their entire living from selling things in the game.

The difference seems to be that money in Second Life is earned though pure creativity - making and selling clothes, furniture, avatars, hair etc - or pure business sense - buying land low and selling it high for example. Entropia looks to be limited to a set list of items you can "make" and "sell" through crafting.

(Crafting works by collecting items needed to create something, then ... well making it really. Great example, huh?).

What has me really interested in Entropia is the Cash Card. While I know of a lot of people who make a lot of money playing these online games, Entropia appears to be the first to give access to in game money via a real world ATM.

The process needs you to log into the game and transfer a portion of your in game bank account to a special account, still in game. Then, with your cash card you can go to any ATM that supports Mastro or Cirrus transactions and withdraw the money for the fixed exchange rate of 10 PED to US$1. Of course there are fees and charges, what's free these days?

To move back to Second Life as an example - artists and writers have used this virtual world since it's inception to get coverage of their work, to promote new works and make money from the sale of text or graphical art (or in world sculpture). Money made in Second Life is sold on a stock exchange, with the amount you make being credited to your credit card or paypal account. If Second Life could also create a card like the Cash Card, it would be an incredible bonus to those who use SL as their main income source.

I'm just finding the new stages of virtual life/ real life crossovers to be fascinating and very exciting, the possiblities are amazing.

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