Virtual Murder... are they for REAL?

MA-Caver

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Online divorcee jailed after killing virtual hubby

By MARI YAMAGUCHI, Associated Press Writer Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press Writer Thu Oct 23, 3:48 pm ET
TOKYO A 43-year-old Japanese woman whose sudden divorce in a virtual game world made her so angry that she killed her online husband's digital persona has been arrested on suspicion of hacking, police said Thursday.
The woman, who is jailed on suspicion of illegally accessing a computer and manipulating electronic data, used his identification and password to log onto popular interactive game "Maple Story" to carry out the virtual murder in mid-May, a police official in northern Sapporo said on condition of anonymity, citing department policy.
"I was suddenly divorced, without a word of warning. That made me so angry," the official quoted her as telling investigators and admitting the allegations.
The woman had not plotted any revenge in the real world, the official said.
She has not yet been formally charged, but if convicted could face a prison term of up to five years or a fine up to $5,000.
Please tell me I'm just imagining this headline?? We know that the Japanese are famed for their apparent weirdness these days but honestly... they're equating virtual murder with the real thing? What? Are they expecting her to end up NOT being satisfied with killing the fake and decide to go for the real?
This is just too disturbing and one wonders how long before it spreads across the big pond to here.
 

exile

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Please tell me I'm just imagining this headline?? We know that the Japanese are famed for their apparent weirdness these days but honestly... they're equating virtual murder with the real thing? What? Are they expecting her to end up NOT being satisfied with killing the fake and decide to go for the real?
This is just too disturbing and one wonders how long before it spreads across the big pond to here.

It's not exactly that she's being charged as though she committed real murder, though. What they're indicting her for is basically computer fraud: illegal entry into another user's directory by obtaining data she was not entitled to have or use. From what I understand, that's considered a very big deal in Japan, virtual world or no virtual world.

The really weird thing about all this is that there are people who play these games who are so obsessed with them that they cannot bear to take a break from them when, uh, real life demands it. So they actually hire people to take over their virtual world persona! I read a story in some financial mag a little while ago about some bright compupreneurs in India who had a whole firm of people working for them as surrogate avatar managers while the owners of the avatars in question were being forced to spend time with their kids or go to relatives' funerals... :rolleyes:

And the numero uno place in the world for these games right here in the US of A. Apparently, we're the biggest participants in the setup.
 
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Sukerkin

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Bob beat me to it :D. I too was of the raised eyebrow contingent when the headline was read as it did make it seem like she was being charged for the virtual murder. But then it became clear that the charge was related to the computer crime, which made more sense.
 

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ok, I am as big a World of Warcraft addict as you will ever find, but this........this is just out there..
 

Makalakumu

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In online games where money is a limited commodity, people are using real currency to buy online currency.

The online currency has an exchange rate!

Here's my thought, start an online bank. Start making loans to characters and charge interest. Take the profits and sell them to make real money.

I never thought I'd live in a world where that business model would be possible.
 

Xue Sheng

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In online games where money is a limited commodity, people are using real currency to buy online currency.

The online currency has an exchange rate!

Here's my thought, start an online bank. Start making loans to characters and charge interest. Take the profits and sell them to make real money.

I never thought I'd live in a world where that business model would be possible.

hmmmm makes me wonder if you can get arrested for virutal bank robbery :D
 

Nolerama

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hmmmm makes me wonder if you can get arrested for virutal bank robbery :D

Actually in EVE Online, that sort of behavior is encouraged. They base their game off of an "Ultimate Free Enterprise" model. As far as unethical business practices go, it's pretty much accepted and smiled upon. I haven't played that game all too often, but I do know that hostile takeovers (literally and figuratively) are looked upon in awe and are something to strive for. You can even use in-game money to buy game play time. The blending of the virtual world and the real world is becoming a very visceral thing for many people.

I assume that the game Terms of Service includes something that prohibits people from suing other players for actions that occur in the game world. But what if that was rescinded in the next big online game? Law/criminal justice schools open up programming wings to keep up with the virtual crimes? That would be hilarious.

And sad.
 

exile

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In online games where money is a limited commodity, people are using real currency to buy online currency.

The online currency has an exchange rate!

Here's my thought, start an online bank. Start making loans to characters and charge interest. Take the profits and sell them to make real money.

I never thought I'd live in a world where that business model would be possible.

Yes! And this was mentioned in that same article I referred to. But it's worse than that: you can, and do, spend real money in these games not just for online currency, but for the chance to move your on-line house address to an on-line-pricier neighborhood. To virtually-drive an Audi rather than a Chevy, a Porsche rather than an Audi, and an Aston-Martin rather than a Porsche. You spend real-world $$ for electronic-world luxuries.
Is this insanely great, or what??!! :barf:

There's something funny going on. Decades ago, the (admittedly kind of middle-brow) cultural historian and critic Max Learner observed that Americans had mastered the 'art of vicarious living'—happy to be spectators rather than participants, not just in sports but in all walks of life. In the 19th century Symbolic classic Axel's Castle, Count Axel remarks to his lover, 'As for living, our servants will do that for us'. American pop-culture seems to have replaced that with, 'As for living, our pro-athletes/entertainers/airhead celebrities will do that for us'. But what these alternative-lives games show is that that good old Puritan work ethic is still alive and well out there: no sooner do we create a virtual world where we're supposedly free of the bounds of ordinary life than we convert the virtual world into another version of ordinary life, complete with status-symbols, stock options for the successful and anxious depression for the losers, and, in fact, all the usual ****. As we are known to say in Canada, from time to time, what's the point, eh?!! Why pay good money to transfer your miseries from three dimensions to two?? :erg:
 
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