VR Crimes and Punishment

In a virtual reality gameworld called EVE Online, a group of players managed to 'steal' massive amounts of virtual assets from another player:

What is fascinating about this incident and others like it is not just the morality of such a through betrayal (they spent a year building their credibility and good graces) but where does the line between the artificial reality of the game and the real-world value coincide? The real-world value of the stolen virtual items was roughly $16,000 (estimated according to auction prices on eBay and the Forums). Could the aggrieved party charge the perpetrators with theft? Or because it was within the confines of an artificial reality that all the parties agreed to participate in, is it something else entirely - a legitimate game opportunity? Interestingly the EVE rules permit such open-ended skullduggery. [source: blogcritcs.org]

You can read the whole story here (click on the pictures of the pages). Note that the $16,000 figure is estimate real worth of the virtual goods in US dollars.


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