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Making Virtual Worlds: Linden Lab and Second Life Hardcover – June 11, 2009

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ISBN-13: 978-0801447464 ISBN-10: 0801447461 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews


"Malaby presents an ethnography of Linden Labs, the creators of the Second Life virtual world. Which is to say, he focuses not on how users of Second Life feel about their experience, but rather on how the Linden Lab people strategize and implemented the wider structure of that virtual world. Malaby looks at the clash at Linden Labs of the liberal ideology espousing a flat organization of creative peers with the reality of a hierarchy in which people are ranked according to their perceived level of creativity."—Choice, December 2009

"The recursive changes in building Second Life by Linden Lab founder Phillip Rosedale and colleagues illustrate some of the lessons of new business organizational ideas and the expansion of the creative logics of gaming into new areas of everyday life. In deceptively simple prose Thomas Malaby explores the ways patterned contingency elicits desires not just to 'play it again,' but to be creative both with strategies of play and strategies of constructing ground rules. Above all, Malaby explores unexpected social games that develop in and around games designed for libertarian, meritocratic, efficiency-calculating, or individual-centered players."—Michael M. J. Fischer, Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Anthropology and Science and Technology Studies, MIT, author of Emergent Forms of Life and the Anthropological Voice and Anthropological Futures

"Making Virtual Worlds is a clear, thoughtful and often spectacularly illuminating study. It examines the social and cultural when shaped by the virtual; cocreation that combines responsive producers and unpredictable consumers; and enterprise that must follow emergent practice. It will appeal to people interested in branding, marketing, innovation, urban planning, software design, organization behavior, new media, and virtual worlds."—Grant McCracken, Research Associate, Convergence Culture Consortium at MIT, author of Transformations

"Fascinating as an ethnographic study of Linden Lab, Making Virtual Worlds has important implications for the effects of high technology generally. Most significant, perhaps, is the recursive loop that Thomas Malaby traces between tool-making, libertarian politics, and the transformative effects of digital technologies not only on users of Second Life but also on the company and people (the 'Lindens') that create and maintain it. This book is essential reading for many diverse conversations, among them new media theory, science studies, technology studies, and cultural studies."—Katherine Hayles, UCLA, author of My Mother Was a Computer and Writing Machines

About the Author

Thomas Malaby is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is the author of Gambling Life: Dealing in Contingency in a Greek City.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press; 1 edition (June 11, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801447461
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801447464
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,762,176 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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This book is excellent. As a Graduate with degrees in philosophy and anthropology I found this book to be quite fun and interesting. The anecdotes serve as a great additions to the understanding of what is going on and it's a book which actively asks the reader questions about what is going on. It doesn't answer most of the questions, but being one of the few anthropology books about video games and the video game industry it's a unique book that furthers the academic pursuit of understanding online video games and the online video game industry.
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Making Virtual Worlds: Linden Lab and Second Life
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