We have seen diplomats fired for milking virtual cows (here) and virtual affairs leading to divorces (here). Now, Finnish police are investigating the theft of virtual furniture from a social networking site.
Furniture has gone missing from the Habbo Hotel on a teenager site. The thieves are creating accounts to steal the furniture and honest players return to the site to find themselves virtually homeless.
The key is to track down the virtual fence who is moving the hot furniture to virtual buyers.
For the full story, click here.
12 thoughts on “Virtually Criminal: Finnish Police Investigate Theft of Virtual Furniture”
The value or utility of a virtual chair may be nil if your server’s software crashes fatally but if you made real money selling that ephemeral chair you can actually ‘eat’ it and pay the rent with it. I’m not arguing the virtue (also an ephemeral concept) of it, I’m just amazed by it. I’m always amazed and delighted when the forward looking authors authors (futurists?) that introduce me to an idea are proved right.
The value or utility of a virtual chair may be nil to you if your server’s software crashes fatally but if you made real money selling that ephemeral chair you can actually ‘eat’ it and pay the rent with it. I’m not arguing the virtue (also an ephemeral concept) of it, I’m just amazed by it. I’m always amazed and delighted when the forward looking authors authors (futurists?) that introduce me to an idea are proved right.
More philosophically: I have seen Cuneiform tablets that have symbols for grains and animals on them. Freaking Cuneiform tablets from the very dawn of humanity’s abstract thinking and mastery of language. The tablets were chits according to the little explanation card next to them and they recorded a transaction along the lines of ‘I extend you x amount of grain for seed and later you will owe me x amount of bread (or, grain or livestock) in return. I am sure that the concept of that tablet, that lump of clay and its impressed design being in fact, x bags of real grain on the eve of the winter solstice, must have caused much head shaking among some people of the time.
Abstract value is a human tool I find interesting. What benefit does a spectator get from his/her team winning? What shame for a loss? Can he eat the win? If the sports stadium collapsed and no games were played for the next two years would he starve?
I bought the album and derived nothing tangible from seeing the band in person. I couldn’t eat the music but the $50 ticket price was well worth the effort and cost.
It’s all second hand gratification that has no intrinsic value at the second tier of experiancing them but they are passionate experiences that enrich us in deeply personal ways.
Could another creature be moved spiritually by Dark Star? Would they bring you a dead fish to hear it (or Brahms) again? I don’t know. I find the phenomena between my examples and the gamers electronic spin on it to be essentially the same (ephemeral) phenomena, just extended into a new realm.
It’s a real difficult one for me to get my head around also.
And consider this. A couple of years ago there was a murder in Japan over the “theft” of a vitual magic sword. It was loaned within the game by the murderer to his victim, who then “sold” it to another gamer instead of giving it back. A few days later he is (not virtually) shot dead by the swords owner.
A big thing in China is “Isk farming”. Isk is the unit of currency in one of the games. The Chinese gamers enter the game, opening a virtual business, make a success of it and sell the virtual profits to other gamers who want a better “lifestyle” within the game enviroment. A million Isk goes for about $29 on e-bay I am told. That’s about a months wages to a young Chinese factory worker.
And it’s a ephemeral as electrons. A micro-economy that makes about as much sense as credit default swaps as its relationship to reality is tangential at best. When the power goes out or the software maintainers change their minds or the company maintaining the servers goes away, let’s see the utility of a virtual chair or virtual food. It’s a number that looks shockingly like zero.
BIL: “Is it just me or is this whole discussion (aside from the real money aspect) simply ridiculous?”
For most people it’s just the price of entertainment. I’m not a sports fan and wouldn’t consider spending the money for a day at a sports event, something I’m told can cost a couple of hundred dollars. I don’t begrudge sports fans their personal indulgence though. I just spend my discretionary income on other, generally worthless pass-times.
If you’re a frustrated gamer that just can’t seem to get some of those reward avatars that will get you to another, higher game level you can buy them from people that are better gamers than you and have as their ‘job’ gaming daily and amassing tools and trade goods to sell.
It’s a new world of commerce, a niche opened with the new tech. It’s (commercial) evolution in action.
A friend’s wife has spent countless hours on Second Life, buying virtual property with his money, as she’s too busy playing while claiming to be writing a book, to look for a job. He claims she’s a terrific lay and doesn’t want to give up his realized fantasy of banging a (dyed) redhead.
They deserve each other.
Doh! bad code, here’s the link:
Internet Addicts Guilty Of Starving Baby To Death While Tending To Virtual Child
Simulations are not real no matter how much you wish them to be.
Now go buy some real furniture before you do something as stupid as the above, Finland.
Is it just me or is this whole discussion (aside from the real money aspect) simply ridiculous? If you’re stupid enough to buy “virtual furniture” like it’s a tangible? Ehhhhh, you kinda get what’s coming to you.
What part of “simulation” didn’t register when the purchase was made?
1 : the act or process of simulating
2 : a sham object : counterfeit
3 a : the imitative representation of the functioning of one system or process by means of the functioning of another (a computer simulation of an industrial process) b : examination of a problem often not subject to direct experimentation by means of a simulating device
Well James M.,
Then they too should be investigated by the Forensic Department for paying money for something that is not real. But then again, wealth gain or lost on the stock market is either real or not depending on your view.
The users who are being stolen from have paid real money for the items (which in itself is stupid, but makes this a legitimate crime to investigate). The people stealing the items are potentially making thousands of dollars.
And are they holding the Virtual Kids and children for ransom? Idle time for Idol minds….
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