By Evan Schrager
The corporate ownership of games seems to impede the narrative experience of gamers around the world, but is a necessary element to keeping the gamespaces clean and functional.
When one plays an MMO seriously, they begin to feel an emotional attachment to the game. They believe that the items and properties that they have obtained in the game belong to them. This is a normal feeling to experience, and is a core problem in the existence of MMO’s. Corporations believe that since they created the world, it is theirs to manipulate, including the possessions of all players. The conflict of ownership of in game materials is a serious issue that can send some emotional role players out of the gamespace by choice.
Another issue in corporate ownership of the games is the real life exchange of in-game currency for money. The companies have to be against this because the majority of the players in the game earned all their money and equipment, etc. They must strive to preserve the integrity of the game for the sake of the community. On the other hand, there are a small percentage of players who believe that they should be able to buy fake currency with real money. They argue that they’re simply buying the “time it takes to make that money.” To make it illegal, the corporation assumes ownership of all money in the game, so RMTs are selling the property of the company.
While the real world doesn’t have to parallel the worlds of MMOs, the general ethics and morals of life should be present. Money shouldn’t be attainable outside of the gamespace. People shouldn’t use slander and obtrusive language when it is damaging to one’s narrative experience. If somebody decides they want to farm and/or monopolize a certain area or certain monsters, their experience can be haltered by corporations. They can deem this activity “illegal or immoral” and take action against that player. But doesn’t that player hold the right to do what he wants when he is paying monthly?
There is a line that needs to be drawn between what is right and what is wrong in a gamespace. People constantly discover loopholes in the rules of these games, and tend to enhance their experience, but hurt others’. Corporations definitely change one’s experience in both positive and negative ways. The company’s role in an MMO is to better the experience of the community as a whole, taking action against people who decide to impede the experience of others.