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 Virtual Trade Tough Nut to Crack

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Date posted: 20/12/2004

Blizzard Entertainment recently announced an aggressive policy against trafficking in the virtual goods of the massively multiplayer online game World of Warcraft - the immediate cancellation of any player's account,if that player was found to be buying or selling anything it stirred up the familiar old hornet's nest.

Players buying and selling what is not theirs - virtual property in a database. It has no physical form, yet it is virtual - there in all but substance. Why should a virtual house not be treated like a physical house? The same investment in time, in love, and care went into both. Yet many companies are bent on stopping virtual ownership by the players who pay them to use a service. For them, it opens up an ugly can of worms, and the very real prospect of being sued if a database crash erases someone's property.

"There's a lot of debate about whether anything could be done," said Ed Castronova, an expert on the economies of virtual worlds. "People get wrapped up in the mechanics of this particular technology. The broad question is whether someone with policy tools can affect how someone acts."

See the full Story via external site: www.wired.com

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