Synopses & Reviews
Play Money explores the remarkable new phenomenon of MMORPGs, or Massively MultiPlayer Online Role-Playing Games, in which hundreds of thousands of players operate fantasy characters in virtual environments. With city-sized populations, these games generate their own cultures, governments, and social systems and, inevitably, their own economies, which spill over into the real world. The desire for virtual goods-magic swords, enchanted breastplates, and special, hard-to-get elixirs-has spawned a cottage industry of virtual loot farmers”: people who play the games just to obtain fantasy goods that they can sell in the real world. The best loot farmers can make between six figures a year and six figures a month. Play Money is an extended walk on the weird side: a vivid snapshot of a subculture whose denizens were once the stuff of mere sociological spectacle but now-with computer gaming poised to eclipse all otherentertainments in dollar volume, and with the lines between play and work, virtual and real increasingly blurred-look more and more like the future.
Dibbell offers an original look at a cutting-edge subject: online fantasy games with hundreds of thousands of players, and how their enthusiasts pay real-world money for fantasy goods.
A wild ride to the outer limits of the virtual world, where real money meets fantasy gaming
About the Author
Over the course of a decade of writing and publishing, Julian Dibbell has established himself as one of the most thoughtful observers of digital culture. His previous book, My Tiny Life, was published to great reviews. Dibbells essays and articles have appeared in Details, Spin, Harpers, the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Le Monde, the Village Voice, and TIME. Currently a contributing editor for Wired magazine, Dibbell lives in South Bend, Indiana.