There are these virtual worlds and online games through Facebook, MySpace and Second Life. They scare me. They are the subject of dystopian movies like Gamer and Surrogates. Bottom line: Bad shit goes down when people live in virtual worlds.
Well, as VentureBeat reports people will have spent a billion dollars on "goods" in these virtual worlds by the end of 2009. Yeah ?- you can buy items in these virtual worlds. No ?- you don?t use virtual money. You use actual money. What?s that about?
It gets worse. When you buy things in these virtual worlds you don't even get anything real in exchange. They are "digital goods." Not a movie file. Not an MP3. A small image of a teddy bear that just represents a teddy bear in the virtual world.
So, let?s say you?re about to go to a coffee shop. You can either be an ethical consumer and go to a local coffee shop ?- thereby investing in your local economy. Or, you can go to a Starbucks, which will export your money from your community into a multinational company -? but at least it contributes to U.S. consumer spending. Or, you can go to a digital coffee shop, which will turn your money into digital nothing and give you a little icon with a coffee mug on it instead of a real coffee. I think I?ve figured out where a billion dollars of our economy went last year.
No wonder the economy is in the crapper. People are buying and selling things that don't even exist.