"Space Makes You Bitter" - sandbox culture in second life and eve online

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Plenary talk for Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education, March 2012

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"Space Makes You Bitter" - sandbox culture in second life and eve online

  1. 1. “space makes you bitter” the evolution of sandbox culture in second life and eve online john carter mcknight vwbpe 2012
  2. 2. “two platforms, alike in dignity…”
  3. 3. second life• launched 2003• carefully managed real-money economy• about 50,000 concurrent users• community-driven “sandbox”• global user base• terrible UI and social tools
  4. 4. eve online• launched 2003• carefully managed real-money economy• about 30,000 concurrent users• community-driven “sandbox”• global user base• terrible UI and social tools
  5. 5. a roadmap1. programmer culture: san francisco bay area and iceland2. eve online’s emergent user culture3. second life’s emergent user culture4. y so difrunt?
  6. 6. 1. programmer culture
  7. 7. iceland = san francisco?• “the californian ideology”• “viking programmers”
  8. 8. “the californian ideology”• (wikipedia)• Fred Turner, From Counterculture to Cyberculture• Barbrook & Cameron essay http://www.imaginaryfutures.net/2007/04/17/the- californian-ideology-2/
  9. 9. recipe• “a mix of cybernetics, free market economics, and counter-culture libertarianism” - barbrook & cameron http://www.arpnet.it/chaos/barbrook.htm
  10. 10. in california• Ayn Rand + hippie culture + engineering culture + 1980s-1990s cyberpunk• generally idealistic
  11. 11. in iceland• the californian ideology + the sagas + globalization• more nihilistic
  12. 12. david friedman – silicon valley scholar of icelandic law http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Academic/Iceland/Iceland.html
  13. 13. mid-2000’s – iceland’s 60’s and 90’s
  14. 14. linden lab and ccp• programmer’s culture (not sales/marketing)• decline in platform use by employees• growing rift between designers and users
  15. 15. ideology in platform design• negligible corporate management / governance• weak social tools• individualism in design and coding
  16. 16. 2. eve online’s culture
  17. 17. what is eve online?
  18. 18. facebook – eve online (albums) (csm7 propaganda)
  19. 19. 3. sl culture
  20. 20. http://nwn.blogs.com/nwn/2003/07/war_of_the_jess.html
  21. 21. 4. y so difrunt?
  22. 22. the easy answer• sl: making stuff = women, teachers, older• eve: blowing stuff up = guys, younger
  23. 23. but wait!that’s too easy!
  24. 24. demographics• sl as the last expression of the techno-hippie demographic (california 1998)• eve as the first expression of young bitter anarcho-capitalists (iceland 2008)
  25. 25. • sl – how 50-somethings wish the world was• eve – how 20-somethings believe the world is
  26. 26. • sl – “your world, your imagination”• eve – “space makes you bitter” “yummy tears”
  27. 27. “A year in EVE will teach you more about human nature than a decade in any other MMO, but what you learn may scar you.” http://tentonhammer.com/eve/spymaster/65
  28. 28. mirror/mirror?
  29. 29. contact me!johncartermcknight.comcombatanthropologist. blogspot.com/@john_carter

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