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Exodus to the Virtual World: How Online Fun Is Changing Reality Paperback – November 11, 2008
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Virtual worlds have exploded out of online game culture and now capture the attention of millions of ordinary people: husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, workers, retirees. Devoting dozens of hours each week to massively multiplayer virtual reality environments (like World of Warcraft and Second Life), these millions are the start of an exodus into the refuge of fantasy, where they experience life under a new social, political, and economic order built around fun. Given the choice between a fantasy world and the real world, how many of us would choose reality? Exodus to the Virtual World explains the growing migration into virtual reality, and how it will change the way we live--both in fantasy worlds and in the real one.
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“Edward Castronova has again charted new waters to the virtual worlds emerging as the next frontier. He has proven himself as the oracle of the virtual world revolution.” ―Christian Renaud, Networked Virtual Environments, Cisco
“A book full of insights about our online present and a hopeful look at the future where politics and economics will be increasingly governed by the rules of video games.” ―John Beck, President of The AttentionCompany and co-author of The Kids are Alright
“As virtual worlds rise in popularity, they are bound to have effects on the way we live our real world lives. Dr. Castronova has put together a persuasive case that the real world may begin to model its institutions on games simply because the general populace finds them more fun. It's an eye-opening tour through how virtual worlds are run, and why practical, enjoyable governance is very different from the systems employed today.” ―Raph Koster, virtual world designer
About the Author
- Publisher : St. Martin's Griffin; First edition (November 11, 2008)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 256 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0230607853
- ISBN-13 : 978-0230607859
- Item Weight : 13.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.58 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #3,301,970 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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Castronova writes well and he discusses this social phenomenon and it's probable future impact in an interesting way. Though at times I think the discussion becomes a little repetitive, and I can't totally agree that "real" societies will have to become more "fun" and gamelike to compete with the synthetic counterparts. But it is a fascinating thought.
From this book, I also decided to purchase Castronova's other book: Synthetic Worlds: The Business and Culture of Online Games. It was then did I realize part of what is in this book is the same as its predecessor. Overall, very insightful.
The title is an accurate prediction but not a good indication of the content. I think increasing numbers will get involved in virtual reality for the fun and psychological rewards it brings, but they will do it for escape to a kind of pure and controlled environment, something the physical world can never be.
Having been a character in World of Warcraft, a game I played with dedication for 9 months, I opened this book with anticipation.
But the central premise that the fun to be had in the virtual world will bring demands for the real world to be more fun is more than a bit wacky. I get the impression that the author wanted to make some kind of broad statement in defense of virtual reality and settled on the transfer of fun.
The real world is full of entertainment and fun already. Neil Postman wrote a book called Amusing Ourselves to Death that questioned it. That was a far better thought out book than this one.
Castronova wants us to believe that the politics that work to make an online game can be transferred to real life but there are differences that make this all but impossible. For one thing, the risks in real life are real. You don't get to die and come back to life, you don't get an infinite number of tries to achieve a goal. The real environment is not magically regenerative so that once you have taken something another copy appears to be taken by others. There is no infinite supply of anything here on Terra Firma.
Throughout the book, I kept wondering if he had read Brave New World, a dire warning of a world where pleasure for the masses has been achieved while the whole thing is watched over and directed by hidden managers. Castronova implies that it would be a good thing for virtual world game designers to step into positions of authority. Aldous Huxley is turning in his grave.
The book increases in silliness, reaching a peak in the fantasy in the epilogue of a Senator logging in to World of Warcraft.
But Castronova's effort is not a waste of time. Read it for enlightenment about how and why game worlds work as they do...and they do work very well.
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Pas bête du tout, si pas sûr.