Digital Dust

As with many other games, in the NCsoft Store Guild Wars Players can buy costumes for their ingame Characters.

In a recent article Jas Purewal from Edge commented on the question of virtual goods ownership. He basically argued that we needed some kind of legal solution to determine who really owns the cows, hairstyles and dresses we bought from biggies Zynga, EA or NCSoft. Good idea, but I wonder whether this could be implemented that easily.

I am one of these people who have a very lax definition of personal or data security, which scares me sometimes. For a person who can’t sleep unless the doors are locked, I care surprisingly little what companies do with “my” virtual goods. It’s the same with my Kindle books and Steam games, I guess. We are entering a time in which we don’t pay to own, we pay to use. In a way, despite all the negative associations that term raises, I actually find that strangely liberating. I love the fact that I don’t need to worry about losing or scratching my copy of a game, but that I can download it from Steam or GOG whenever I want. I cannot quite describe it, but I had the same feeling two weeks ago when I moved to another city: I packed all my books into (too) many  boxes and left them on the attic somewhere. Yes, they’ll be unpacked and nicely shelved if I have a big house one day, but until then I really like my Kindle. It simply doesn’t take up that much space, doesn’t collect dust… yes, I love dusty old books as the next person, but still, as hard as it is to admit that, I dig the digital stuff a little more.

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