AR is an MMO

 Posted by (Visited 9288 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , , , ,
Jul 112016


I’ve said this before, but in the wake of the viral success of Pokémon GO, it needs to be said again. Augmented reality is just a virtual world, an MMO, a MUD even, with all of the same design issues, plus a few new ones.

The goggles fallacy

I asked a high-powered Silicon Valley exec about the ethical implications of social VR and AR. Their response was “what ethical implications?”

To some, particularly vets of online worlds of various stripes, this may seem obvious. But most days, it feels like the average person working in social VR, AR, and the like, is ignorant of this. It’s evident in the very large pile of past lessons they are failing to heed in their designs.

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Avatar rights come back

 Posted by (Visited 11939 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , , ,
Apr 102011

The Lawbringer: A prelude to avatar rights is an article kicking off what appears to be a series looking at avatar rights in the context of World of Warcraft. It has been a while since the original article on avatar rights has been commented on much on the web, though it still regularly gets discussed in books on Internet law. Very few worlds ever adopted any variant of this as a terms of service, and Metaplace doing so back when we ran a customer-facing service had no real impact other than garnering some publicity.

Oddly enough, the article has been much on my mind lately, mostly because of how it closes, with a prediction that avatar service providers will both hold immense quantities of personal information but also dominate the market, making it hard to use an alternate provider:

Someday there won’t be any admins. Someday it’s gonna be your bank records and your grocery shopping and your credit report and yes, your virtual homepage with data that exists nowhere else…  it may be a little harder to write to Customer Service. Your avatar profile might be your credit record and your resume and your academic transcript, as well as your XP earned.

On the day that happens, I bet we’ll all wish we had a few more rights in the face of a very large, distributed server, anarchic, virtual world where it might be very very hard to move to a different service provider…

…It’s a hypothetical exercise.

For now.

“Declaring the Rights of Players”, 2000

Not very long ago my daughter was banned from Facebook. She has no idea why; neither do I. I would keep an eye on her page, and there was nothing untoward on it that I saw. She hadn’t been using it actively, and it took her several days to notice it was gone. And she’s just not interested in it enough to bother setting up a new one.

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Sep 222008

There was a fair amount of coverage of this panel, despite the relatively small attendance. This was the one where we announced the Metaplace TOS. Some of the coverage:

The discussion has been quite lively, and many excellent points were raised for possible revisions, many posted right here on the site in the discussion thread. I plan to reconvene with the lawyers and this feedback and present another draft for the Internet to argue over. 🙂

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Declaring the Rights of Metaplace Users

 Posted by (Visited 14057 times)  Game talk, Gamemaking  Tagged with: ,
Sep 152008

As has already been mentioned online, today at the Austin Game Conference Metaplace announced that its Terms of Service will be modeled on my 2000 article “Declaring the Rights of Players.” What does that mean?

It means, in a nutshell, that we are signing up for the following:

Rights of creators

  • Freedom of expression
  • Ownership, including earning money & running their own world
  • Privacy
  • Develop their own TOS

Rights of users

  • Freedom of speech & assembly, privacy
  • Rule of “law” and due process
  • Ownership of their IP

Responsibilities of creators and users

  • Don’t break the law

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May 212008
  • The Hernandez case in Florida, where IGE is being sued for damaging the WoW gameplay experience, is trying seeking class certification. This was always their intent, so I suppose really, I am just pointing out that the slow gears continue to grind on.
  • In other legal news, a Legend of Mir 2 player is suing Shanda, trying to get monetary damages for the value of the in-game items that they lost due to some sort of technical glitch. In other words, a “virtual property” case. The player had been buying these items, and Massively did the math, working out that the guy had spent almost $30,000.
  • SmallWorlds is about to launch — basically, it lets you make isometric multiplayer apartments and embed them on pages and link them. They are apparently planning on lots of Hollywood tie-ins. It will be interesting to see how this goes, given the similarities to Whirled, which has not set the world on fire yet despite being very cool. Using the “open big” estimation method and eyeballing their curve using the numbers they report on the site, they look to be on track to peak around 20-30,000 users unless they manage to crack another market or go viral. Naturally, we’re watching all this kind of closely since Metaplace bears some similarities to both of these.