Sunday, January 13, 2013

Virtual Worlds: What Are They?

We all know that one person that "lives" on there computer. What could they possibly be doing for hours on end? When  you ask them their answer is usually,"I'm playing my game or I have to check how my avatar is doing." This means they probably playing a massively multiplayer virtual world online game.Some of the more popular ones we know of today are:
World of Warcraft
Second Life
Face of Mankind
Gods War Online

Massively multiplayer online games represent a range of worlds, including ones based fantasy, science fiction, the real world, super heroes, sports, horror, and historical. The most common games are fantasy worlds, unlike real world based games are pretty rare. Many massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPGs) have real-time actions and communication. Players can create a character that travels between buildings, towns, and worlds to carry out business or leisure activities. Communication is usually textual, but real-time voice communication is also possible.Virtual worlds are not limited to games but, depending on the degree of immediacy presented, can encompass computer conferencing and text based chat rooms  Sometimes, emoticons are available, to show feelings and facial expression.

"A virtual world, or virtual environment, is usually an Internet-based simulated environment inhabited by avatars, or graphic representations, of its interactive users"(Safko). An avatar can be represented textually, by a photograph, logo, image, or more popularly used a 3-D cartoon-like person, animal, or object. Although the social interactions of participants in virtual worlds are often viewed in the context of 3-D Games, other forms of interaction are common as well, including forums, blogs, wikis, chat rooms, instant messaging, and video-conferences. Communities have their own rules, topics, jokes, and language. Members of these communities can find like-minded people to interact with. whether this be through a shared passion, the wish to share information, or a desire to meet new people and experience new things. Users may develop personalities within the community adapted to the particular world they are interacting with, which can impact the way they think and act. Internet friendships and participation online communities tend to complement existing friendships and civic participation rather than replacing or diminishing such interactions The most popular virtual world is Second Life. The name itself is kind of explains what it is, it's the players' second life outside of the real world.  Rosedale developed Rig, a large, slow, expensive, and difficult to wear and use system. It then evolved into the Internet software Linden World, which was designed to allow its users to play games and socialized with other users in 3D online environment. Linden World then grew into today’s Second Life software experience.     In 2008 Second Life had a banner year. There were 16,785,531 people registered Second Life and "residents" spent more than US $100 million on virtual goods and services. Across the world players participated in more than 397 million hours.

Disabled or chronically invalided people of any age can benefit enormously from experiencing the mental and emotional freedom gained by temporarily leaving their disabilities behind and doing, through the medium of their avatars, things as simple and potentially accessible to able, healthy people as walking, running, dancing, sailing, fishing, swimming, surfing, flying, skiing, gardening, exploring and other physical activities which their illnesses or disabilities prevent them from doing in real life. This one of the benefits of the virtual worlds. But people with medical conditions aren't the only people using them. Companies are using them as well. Big names like Disney run have their avatars and businesses running 24/7, so anyone that that logs in at anytime can "go" to Disney and have some to interact with.Other than people that use these worlds for business and relief from their medical condition, is it beneficial for people to sit at their computers or TVs for hours on end? They is no end goal for the game, you are basically living a second life through the computer.Thank you for reading. I would like to know your thoughts.
What do you think?
Do you think virtual worlds can become too much?

ReferencesBateman, Patrick J., Jacqueline C. Pike, Nicholas Berente, and Sean Hansen. "Journal of Virtual Worlds Research." Time for a Post-Mortem?: Business Professionals' Perspectives on the Disillusionment of Virtual Worlds. N.p., 2012. Web.Kamberi, Shahnaz. "Journal of Virtual Worlds Research." A Cross-Case Analysis of Possible Facial Emotion Extraction Methods That Could Be Used in Second Life. N.p., 2012. Web.Safko, Lon. The Social Media Bible Tactics, Tools, & Strategies for Business Success. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2012. Print