Second Life; World of Warcraft

I can't find it, but I watched part of a news segment last night on CNN that discussed the psychological impact (both negatively and positively) of virtual worlds on people. First discussing Doom, they moved into more current games such as Vice City, and then branched into a 10-15 minute spiel on how Second Life is wonderful for marketing and making money. How one lady went from $35,000/year in real life to $85/year online designing her own clothing line, and a guy was doing six figures/year in online consulting for advertising and marketing agencies. Then they moved into a 2-minute blurb on World of Warcraft and how this couple had met in WoW, and then got married. They then moved back to discuss the financial benefits of Second Life.

My wife asked, "So you meet people in that game you play?" (I've been playing WoW since January.) I hope she well understood when I mentioned how hilariously flipped the news segment was. Having played both, I found Second Life to be the social network where folks "venture out", all the while constantly being asked about your first life. World of Warcraft was a pleasant change from what was becoming a fairly seductive environment where every girl is a knockout and every guy is the basis for masculine pleasantries. No one asked about real life except perhaps the occasional "What part of the world are you in?" and perhaps a "How old are you?" (Keeping language in perspective should you be grouped with a 10-year old.) But near all of the game is about discussing your in-world characters and I haven't found there to be as much "socialism" as there was in Second Life. Well, then again, I did hear a story about a guy that was stabbed in the leg (in real life) during game play. People do vent and share some RL things, but again, nothing like what I saw in Second Life.

I wish I could find the article that portrayed these two online virtual worlds in the way it was. Granted, WoW isn't going to make you too much money in RL (not that it can't), but the world of Second Life isn't "as much" about marketing and making money as it has become about socializing and "venturing out". There's a reason every girl is a knockout and every guy is the basis for masculine pleasantries. And there's a reason World of Warcraft is one of the top online virtual games to date, and it doesn't have very much to do with finding your soul mate.

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