Video games government regulation; is there no pie they won’t stick their fat fingers in?
They already control practically every facet of the real world and now they want to control the virtual. Giuliano Millan from Mises Daily explains . . .
Do Video-Game Worlds Need Government Regulation?
From Mises Daily by Giuliano Millan
… Recently, massively multiplayer online games or MMOs have seen increased popularity. In many of these MMOs, players are allowed to define their own goals and play in any way they desire. In addition, games such as EVE Online allow players to produce goods which can then be traded in the game world for the game world’s currency and goods. This means that the game takes place in and around a real and functioning virtual economy.
With the increasing popularity of virtual economies, however, scholars and academics have argued that the economies of virtual worlds are not as separate from the real world as they may appear at first glance. The argument goes that virtual currencies can be seen as just a continuation of money in the real world. This interpretation of virtual currencies can be seen when real world currencies are exchanged for virtual world currencies through sites such as Ebay. Increasingly, there has been a call for governments to regulate and implement policies into these virtual economies.
* * *
The argument used for implementing regulatory measures states that if virtual world currencies are a continuation of real world currencies, they must be subjected to real world laws and regulations. It has been stated by the same scholars who call for government regulation that the way in which regulation should be imposed is unclear; however, the notion that government oversight should be implemented in some way should be questioned before it becomes more widely accepted as the norm. Proponents of implementing real world regulations will point to scandals and crises in the virtual world to justify the need for regulation in virtual worlds, but this ignores some basic arguments against regulating.
* * *
Choice in a virtual world presents some very interesting opportunities. Because developers create their own governments and regulations, analysis of which virtual governments’ people choose to live under would be an interesting venture. They can also be used to demonstrate economic laws. For example, the game Diablo 3 can help us understand the causes of hyperinflation. Unfortunately, many of these possibilities for analyzing human action may be limited or eliminated depending on how and whether government regulation is implemented. . . . (more)