If you're tempted to call a virtual world a game, you are ignoring some very pertinent facts:
- Every "player" is a real human being, with real feelings, wants and needs, even if they present themselves in other than human form. You like to be thought of as real, so why don't you think others are just as real?
- When you log out and turn off your PC, life in the virtual world continues - just like it continues in the concrete world after you've gone to bed and fallen asleep.
- There is an economy in virtual worlds that is every bit as real as that which exists in the concrete world, and it continues after you log out and turn off your PC.
- Commitments you make to others in a virtual world are just as real as those you make in the concrete world, and just as serious. Try partnering to someone and having them break your heart to feel just how real it truly is.
What inspired this post in particular was yet another DJ who abandoned their shifts are our SL club, and didn't bother to inform me they had decided to leave, till I asked them why they failed to show up. That is blatant, out and out disrespect.
What would happen to you if you just decided to stop showing up at a job in the concrete universe? Not only would you lose it, you would get bad reviews if you were dumb enough to list them on a future job application. What makes you think the same thing won't happen in a virtual world?
Sure, you're being paid "funny money" but isn't that the currency you use to buy stuff for your avatar? If you earn enough "funny money" it can be converted to concrete world currency. For every 250 Lindens, you have 1 U.S. Dollar, or 0.7 Euros, or 0.62 GBP, or 44.98 Indian Rupees (information garnered from the currency converter at http://www.xe.com). For every 500 Iz in Inworldz, you also have 1 U.S. Dollar. I don't know what the exchange rate is on other grids, but you get my point.
If you want to play a game, go buy one off the shelf at Best Buy and install it on your PC. If you're ready to treat people with as much respect and consideration as you would no matter where you are, immerse yourself in a virtual world, because frankly, it's not a game.