Ciaran Laval in his blog has an article on Neoliberalism And Cardboard In Virtual Worlds And Games. Despite the title it is about the direction virtual worlds are going. He quotes from Elliot Murphy’s essay on computer games and politics: Always a Lighthouse: Video Games and Radical Politics. This may give us another hint on Sansar’s economic model.
In America I suspect many will confuse the liberalism intended with the popular liberal/progressive ideology the mainstream media touts. In a 1984 style, radicals and socialists have taken over the word liberal for their use in describing socialism/collectivism, which are not liberal. But, in Ciaran’s quote we see neoliberalism is being used in its more classic meaning, i.e., the core tenets of neoliberalism: privatization, deregulation, commodification, and a celebration of personal profit. My kind of thinking.
Ciaran is pointing to how Second Life™ is mentioned in the essay. SL is pretty much a free market (liberal) style environment. From there he projects that will likely be the style of Project Sansar’s model.
Ciaran believes: “The directions are potentially endless and whereas Second Life does have a strong emphasis on the market, there are also plenty of freebies, sharing of ideas and resources at play, which aren’t really touched upon in the essay.” [emphasis mine] Unfortunately, not all things work. In a free market environment resources have to be used wisely or the business or game goes bankrupt and employees move on to something that works. In more totalitarian governments taxes are raised and wasteful failing ideas and programs continue. Things stagnate. It would have been interesting if Murphy had looked at those things and how they affect games.
Ciaran quotes Loki Elloit’s recounting of how he is working with Google Cardboard in Second Life. I think Loki has found what will be the low cost approach to using VR to build in Second Life. Basically similar to how we use the Preview Grid. Build something then test and proof it in the Preview Grid where it is free to upload. Loki seems to be building and then checking how it looks in his VR headset and adjusting the build.
I suspect that to some extent this workflow will hold true for Sansar too. I know I use Blender by placing a camera at eye-height and add a copy of the Ruth avatar to see how things I am building look size and proportion-wise. Then when happy in Blender I bring them into the Preview Grid and look at them. With a VR headset I would add that check too. With Blender adding VR headset support I will be able to use that check in Blender and in-world, whether SL or Sansar.
Murphy is on about how games can be used to radicalize players. In my article Thought Controlled Elections I pointed to some of the conditioning and information control that Facebook and Google can exert on our thinking. Murphy is pointing to how games can provide a false sense of how the RL world works.
If one is knowledgeable in the areas of propaganda mechanics and the behaviors of totalitarians, the difference in ideology and game play stands out. MMO’s do NOT lend themselves to the lone individualism needed for totalitarian propaganda and ideology to adhere. That isn’t to mean totalitarian ideology can’t be promoted or perpetuated in MMO’s. They just aren’t ideal for it.
Murphy’s essay is interesting. Quoting his final point:
This final point is crucial: Many games surveyed here do not in themselves have the depth of exposition required to deliver the sort of counter-narrative seen in polemical essays or academic lectures, but they can nevertheless suggest a particular direction, as when the BioShock developers point the player in the direction of Bakunin. Video games are permeated with a mindful and lively sense of optimism about the possibility of change, both political and personal. It’s for this reason among many others that they will continue to be embraced in increasing numbers, exposing the contradictions and flaws of the modern world.