Here's part 2 of the interview I conducted in Second Life with the Copper Robot show. In this part, I talk about the research that went into For the Win.
“For anyone who’s my age and uses computers, you would have to undertake an extraordinary effort not to be a gamer,” he said. He started computer games at age 8, when a neighbor got Pong, and they became obsessed with the game.
“We think you’ve got to be somebody who spends 70 hours a week playing World of Warcraft in order to call yourself a gamer,” Cory said. However, that’s not true, he said. Likewise, most people think of gamers as either being children or overgrown children, but 50% of FarmVille players are 50-year-old women with high school diplomas, Doctorow said.
The current New Scientist has a fine interview and feature about my latest novel, For the Win:
What do gold farmers think about their lot?
The gold farmers are a lot less worried about being exploited in real life than they are about being hunted mercilessly in the game. They encounter an awful lot of racism when they move around in games. Anyone with a Chinese name or talking in Chinese is immediately accused of being a gold farmer. If you are on a server where players can attack each other, people will try to kill you. They did have stories about being exploited, too, but a lot of them are 17 and still can't believe they're being paid to play video games all day.
When do you set the action in For the Win?
At a time when 8 out of 10 of the world's top economies are virtual economies. Scarily, in 2001 the game EverQuest was ranked 77 in the world - on par with Russia as it was then.
Hey, Toronto! I'm coming home tonight for the Canadian launch of For the Win! I'll see you at 6:30PM at the Merril Collection on the lower level of the Lillian H. Smith Building, 239 College Street, just east of Spadina.
Just a reminder: I'll be in Toronto this Friday, June 4 for the Canadian launch of For the Win. We're launching it at the Merril Collection (239 College Ave, east of Spadina), starting 6:30PM. The good folks from Bakka-Phoenix Books will be on-hand with hardcopies to buy, as well.
In a time when national economies rise and fall on algorithms designed to sell money that never existed and corporate executives go unpunished for stealing thousands of people’s pensions and livelihoods, the idea that the virtual world may well provide us with clues on how to organize the real one is not far-fetched at all. Perhaps we should listen up.