Virtual Labor Lost
The failure of a highly anticipated, multiplayer game shows the limits of academic virtual worlds.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
By Erica Naone
Erica reports on the failure of Arden, the World of Shakespeare an educational MMORPG and research testbed made by Edward Castronova. It was financed by a $250,000 MacArthur Foundation grant. Castranova says the project failed because it wasn't fun to play.
Mainstream MMORPG's have been used for research into Dunbar's number and probably more opportunities will be found.
Maybe the lesson is that with the web, its no longer so important to create content as to find and re-purpose existing content. Google now indexes over 14 billion pages.
The changed business model is demonstrated by the open source community. With so much freely available information, there is no longer an advantage in restricting intellectual property, smart businesses share it and make money from other services. Similarly researchers who wait for publication in refereed journals may find that research has moved on before they can publish.
So if you are looking for an educational game or a research testbed, the first choice should be using or re-purposing what's already freely available.