Exodus to the Virtual World:  How Online Fun is Changing Reality

Posted by Rezwan Razani on Apr 28, 2012 at 08:31 AM
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Author: Edward Castronova

We’ve got a fusion challenge to solve.  Where is everyone?

Are we experiencing brain drain, losing valuable intellectual capital to the world of fantasy?  Edward Castronova says that we are, that what we have here is a “mass exodus to virtual worlds”. 

Downside:  Brain Drain

Per Amazon description:

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?

Upside: Emergent Reality - Enjoyable Governance

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

Indeed.  Compare online “enjoyable governance” with our Federal Budget Process.  Could that ever change?  How you would approach the development of fusion as a massive multiplayer online game?  What sort of governance or asset allocation would come out of that?  Would an optimal fusion solution result more quickly from such a process? 


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 Exodus to the Virtual World:  How Online Fun is Changing Reality

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