1993-10-11 - Virtual City (tm) and Virtual Capitalism

Header Data

From: Arthur Chandler <arthurc@crl.com>
To: Eric Hughes <hughes@ah.com>
Message Hash: 560d8b90af78e181daf0dbe9d6e7759c450cb755ea23e0a342d13cd651b7df3a
Message ID: <Pine.3.05.9310101713.A26661-b100000@crl.crl.com>
Reply To: <9310101606.AA08264@ah.com>
UTC Datetime: 1993-10-11 01:09:47 UTC
Raw Date: Sun, 10 Oct 93 18:09:47 PDT

Raw message

From: Arthur Chandler <arthurc@crl.com>
Date: Sun, 10 Oct 93 18:09:47 PDT
To: Eric Hughes <hughes@ah.com>
Subject: Virtual City (tm) and Virtual Capitalism
In-Reply-To: <9310101606.AA08264@ah.com>
Message-ID: <Pine.3.05.9310101713.A26661-b100000@crl.crl.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

  I'm still not clear as to exactly what MUD money would purchase. In a MOO,
such as MediaMOO or BayMOO, I can't conceive of what anyone could "buy"
with virtual money. The one real item of scarcity in a MOO -- from the
player's standpoint -- is quota. You are normally assigned a specific
number of objects or features that you can own -- say, 20 -- and once you use
that number up, you have to prove to the wizards that you really do need
an increase in your quota, and that you haven't just gobbled up disk space
with superfluous rooms or little-used objects.
  Any system of monetary exchange that would involve manipulating quotas,
or translating them into a kind of tradeable commodity would, I think, be
vigorously resisted by most MOO wizards. "I'll help you code that virtual
Harley if you'll pay me two quota" would be antithetical to the whole
spirit of cooperation I've seen in most (though not all) MOOs. In
addition, it would be an ironic commentary on the old cyberpunk
"Information should be free!" if Joe/Jane MOOwhiz sets up shop as a
for-hire expert in coding, amassing virtual capital off of newbies.
  If we're talking about RPG money -- gold and jewels that have value
within a MUD/RPG universe -- well, OK; but I think this would be a fairly
trivial use of what I thought was supposed to be a sophisticated model for
future monetary transactions on a global scale. And if, as part of your
post suggests, RL money would be gratefully paid for increased power
within a MUD -- shades of *Snow Crash*! And who would have guessed that
it was cypherpunks in executive clothing that brought such a system into
the MUD/MOO world.