Saturday, August 20, 2011

Virtual Suicides

Although not many cases have transpired in the Philippines, we sometimes hear about these Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Games subscribers who commit suicide or even get into real world fights over their accounts with other people. Some of us find it funny and shallow that they would get so bothered by a virtual property, but fail to realize how much this virtual property actually costs. Let’s take for example World of Warcraft, which currently has the largest subscriber base in the MMORPG world. To make an account, users have to own the original game, which is roughly $20, and each of the expansions, which are roughly $20 each. There are currently 3 expansions with a new one released every 2 years bringing the basic amount to $80. Now there are monthly fees amounting to $15 a month. If a subscriber has been playing for around 3 years that is already $620 investment not including the amount of time he/she put into the game of roughly 3 hours a day on the average as well as all the connections and reputation he/she may have obtained and made in the game. The fees and hours may differ, but for any game, substantial interest is involved for each subscriber which only grows the longer he/she plays the game.

Online currency is also a factor. Subscribers earn currency in these MMORPG used to buy in-game items and the like which are earned by doing tasks in the game. Now this currency allow accounts to be more valuable because they add to the appeal of a subscriber and his respective characters online. This currency can also be sold through sites such as EBay for real world money. So we can see that these games can become a valuable property for a lot of people, in certain cases they feel even irreplaceable. Therefor given the amount of effort some users put into these games, it can’t be too ridiculous for some of them to get aggressive once damage has been done to their accounts.

No comments: