To Joe Sanchez,
"A Social History of Virtual Worlds" is in depth and shows the evolution behind the idea. People have become enamored with online games or more simply online realities, as you mentioned Second Life and other programs have no "game" aspect.
Your thoughts on the shift from playing a game to just living and creating in a virtual world is intriguing and accurate. We grow up playing with toys and "dollhouses" simulating the real life world. This is a form of entertainment, but possible in these simulated worlds we can also attain objects that we do not have in our lives.
Because digital media and technology is rapidly advancing, we no longer needs toys. We have these programs that allow us to create our own virtual lives and worlds that are interactive. Other people are involved and add a new dimension to our virtual realities that we could not have without the use of technology.
For some, existing in a virtual world compensates for their experiences in the real world. Whether the motivation is for material objects or relationships with other people. It is still enough to make people feel a desire to be present in the virtual world more than to be active in the offline world. They can create their own identity with characteristics that they wish to have, that they may not necessarily have in their earthly presence.
Although the online games allow people to express themselves and be who they want to be, it is still artificial. The relationships only exist within the game. People may never meet, or could meet and not even realize who they are, or even hate each other in person.
This can give insight into how relationships work and attractions between people in the offline vs. online worlds.
What prejudices people from interacting in the real world? Why are people open to collaborating with strangers in the virtual worlds?
Maybe having a separate identity, people are allowed to be who they truly are, which they may hide in real life.
What are your thoughts?