Wow. This little ditty was pointed out to me by Avindair
While there is a smattering of truth amidst the chaos of Mr. Wong’s article, his list is so full of virtual paranoia/conspiracy theory/logic holes, I don’t even know where to start, so I will simply comment on the list as given:
1. Everyone will look like a Greek god or goddess.
False. But it is true that very few people will look like their real selves. I like the concept of the Awesome You, but it really should be called the Virtual You, or Virt-You or something (Never cared for calling it an ‘avatar’), but not always Awesome, not necessarily Greek, and not necessarily God-like.
I can imagine people thinking it is funny running around looking like [fill in name of current elected official here] while some will opt for the Sci-Fi look (Hi, my name is ‘7 of 9,000,000’)
I myself would choose a character who constantly changes in all attributes: one moment, I am a 300 lb black woman wearing a muumuu, the next moment; I am a bald 6-year old boy with reptilian eyes; the next moment I am a formless blob of pink goo with 1500 eyes and a shotgun.
2. All will play in the same virtual world.
False. Virtual Worlds will exist side by side on the internet like websites, or like channels on television. The only thing they will have in common is the internet as a means of access. Perhaps there may be ways to use your Virtual Profile on multiple worlds, but I doubt it. If Sony or Microsoft are involved in any way, there will be a Proprietary Profile required which is not compatible with any other world.
The reason is supply and demand. If there is only one virtual world, whoever is running it will charge for it. This will undoubtedly prompt others to come out with Worlds that are ‘cheaper’ or ‘better’ or both. Of course there will be the ‘Gold’ World, and the ‘Platinum’ World and ‘Lindsay Lohan’ World and so on.
Oh, and don’t forget the ‘Open Source’ World…
3. Someone will go to jail for stealing a Bonebiter.
Doubtful. (I am assuming the author means ‘someone will go to jail in the Real World for stealing a virtual item off a person in the Virtual World’) The author makes a good point of comparing the theft of a virtual item to the theft of an .mp3, but the difference is that the .mp3 has value for its use in the real world, it is a product, marketed for the purpose of creating income. But a Bonebiter is only useful inside the game world it was created for, and it was only created for use in that world. If Bonebiters were patented and had a UPC code on them, then perhaps the court system might recognize it as a real theft.
In other-other words, just try to get your insurance company to cover your Sims house, or your Elvish Boots Of Levitation, or your Bonebiter sword. They will be more than happy to explain that Virtual Property is not Real Property (although this could open a new line of business for Sims characters or even Virtual World Moderators…)
4. You’ll meet someone who plays an MMORPG for a living.
True. More than true, you may meet teams or even businesses who play the games for a living. It could even become a syndicated sport, and something I would watch any day over any sport which ends with the word “ball”
Good Lord, if people actually watch NASCAR, then clearly there is a desire to watch people who are good at things, and if driving 500 miles in a circle qualifies, then there needs to be an Everquest Channel. I can even see Quake 5 as a Virtual Olympic sport.
5. They’ll take the “G” out of “MMORPG.” (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game)
True. Everquest already has a >pizza command, that allows you to order a pizza from your local Domino’s THROUGH AN IN-GAME COMMAND. I’m not kidding. So it’s only a small marketing step to put a ‘Ye Olde Target’ store in downtown World Of Warcraft, where you can buy junk off target.com through your EQ account. Posters for the upcoming Tool Concert will sit on the Town Square Bulletin Board. You can pick up a pair of Lindsay Lohan Barrettes +2 vs Split Ends, LL Cool J Boots Of +10 Coolness, and a ‘Please M.C. +6 WarHammer Don’t Hurt Em.’ Video games will be slathered with more product placement ads than a 10 second clip of NASCAR.
But taking the G out of MMORPG is not all bad. I agree with the author that the virtual world is where concerts and movies will be shown: Who wouldn’t want to wander around on-stage during the next Rush Concert, with their Controls set to View>OtherAudienceMembers>OFF and View>VenueSetting>MartianSunset…
Imagine following Frodo through the entire LOTR Trilogy World, seeing everything from his first-person point of view?
Sign me up.
6. You will find yourself momentarily forgetting whether you’re in the real or virtual world.
True. (And a no-brainer at that.) Bring on the holodeck!
7. You’ll meet a couple who have been married for years and have never seen each others real-life faces.
I’m not entirely sure what an “online marriage” would even mean, and the author does not define the term. Marriage includes the religious (officiated by a religious representative) and the state/legal (signed and purchased marriage license.) The first would be challenging but not impossible, the second, not so much.
A far more likely case is: “You will meet people who have worked together for years and never seen each other’s real-life faces”. This is already true, and likely to become more common, where you work for a corporation for years and never see your co-workers in the real world.
This is kind of a pointless point.
8. There will be a branch of government to rule the virtual world.
False. The author dismisses his own point by realizing that any rules to follow would have to be worldwide rules. This would require the dreaded One-World-Government to administrate. Until we are capable of holding a United Nations meeting with all nations meeting amicably, this simply will not happen.
All the author’s arguments here about virtual rape and virtual sex are contrived for shock and amusement only. This point is simply paranoid schizophrenia crossed with a creative writing exercise.
9. There will be a whole class of wealthy people without a dime to their name.
True but a non-point. What the author should have said is that “real world money is meaningless in the virtual world.”
Like I said, non-point.
The fact that the author goes on and on about virtual money and virtual property only shows how seriously rooted in the material world he is, and how little he grasps the concept of Virtual Worlds. Virtual Worlds are (at this point) mostly ENTERTAINMENT. People don’t really go to Sims World to work in a virtual factory, any more than people play Pac-Man because they want to eat all the little white pellets lying around. Its a game. Its funny and its fun. Unlike the real world, things in Virtual Worlds are levered in our favor because if people don’t have fun there, they won’t come back.
The magical “interface” the author keeps referring to (which allows people to eat, sleep and have sex in the Virtual World) is the Pixie Dust which just shows that the author got all his/her info on virtual reality from the movie The Matrix.
10. The rise of the metaverse will go almost completely unopposed.
Absolutely False, because this relies on #2 above, which is not true.
Surprisingly, after Mr. Wong raises all these points against the plague of the supposedly unopposed, unstoppable debauchery of the New (Virtual) World Order, he acquiesces and admits that he welcomes it. Weird.
As much as I don’t agree with David Wong’s points in this article, his fiction is much better. He is a great writer, and you should seriously check out his latest book. Read it online for free, or better yet, buy a copy.