The Line Between Reality and Virtual Reality

In the marketplace, gamifcation within business is generally thought of as a way for real businesses to better access the market. However, the expansion of virtual worlds has lead to the line becoming blurred with business’ between virtual life and reality. The example that I recall from a couple years back that best explains this comes from online “reality” Second Life. Second Line is an online virtual reality, which provides its users to interact with other real individuals from various points in the world. Much like reality, Second Life has the ability to be adapted by those who inhabit it. The currency within Second Life, Linden Dollars, is transferable to U.S. dollars.

 In 2006, Second Life participant Anshe Chung became the first individual to ever make a million dollars on Second Life. Not content with merely cashing in her virtual chips for a real fortune, Ailin Graef (the individual behind Chung’s avatar) developed a real-world “spinoff” corporation. Naturally, the questions which arose in popular discourse were how credible was this business.

The way I choose to answer that question is by examining what a business does. The end goal of all businesses is to make money. While some may argue that some businesses exist because the CEOs or powers that be genuinely believe that their business makes the world a better place, the fact of the matter still remains that these businesses would not be able to be successful were it not for their intake of money. Therefore, questioning the legitimacy of this business is just the same as questioning the legitimacy of a million dollars.

 In sum, I think it is interesting to think about that way that virtual worlds have allowed businesses to expand into gamification, and in return for “gaming” to turn into business.



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