Cue the wacky sci-fi virtual headsets and the ubiquitous sleeping pods with the jagged glowing circuitry! We’re tackling VR today.
I feel obligated to bring this up. I’m the guy constantly researching psychological studies on video games and writing articles on in-game cosmetics. It’s visible to me. Honestly, this is information I ought to be sharing with you. So, if you’ll allow the video game blogger to be the harbinger of insight today, I’ll gladly share!
Psychological studies are becoming more open-minded by the day. The results are more accurate assessments made on gaming culture and more definitive answers to causes and effects to our lifestyle.
Although, social science moves at a slow pace compared to technology. Psychologists may have their hearts in the right place, but in 2021 they’re still quoting studies conducted from Diablo 3’s auction house. We’re talking like… 2012.
Nowadays it isn’t uncommon for players to spend real-life currency for in-game cosmetic items. Those cosmetic items have even proven to withhold real-life monetary value for prolonged periods of time.
You’ve probably purchased a skin or two yourself. As opposed to 2012, I’d say you’re in the minority if you haven’t.
Now, let’s think about what you bought for a second. You didn’t spend your hard-earned cash on something like a Crash Bandicoot skin or a steering wheel cover for your Mario Kart character to keep his hands warm.
No. You probably spent that money on a game you play online. You spent it where you have an entire community of friends to play with. You spent it in a place you’ve constantly visited for months on end.
Your hard-earned money goes somewhere you’re equally as invested in as you are in life itself.
Our days of communicating online with predetermined quick chat options have long passed. There is a level of social interactivity in online gaming that rivals what you could expect to see at a local bar or coffee shop. In a lot of ways, online interactivity outshines those places.
When you’re online, you’ve all got a common interest to kindle friendships from. You have an activity to partake in – rather than sitting at a table sipping on juice that makes your brain slur.
Coffee shops are no different, except that they make your brain fire off like a machine gun.
Of course, online we don’t see one another’s faces. We hear voices, and we see avatars. So, naturally, we want to dress our characters in ways that feel suitable to our personalities. We dress our characters as we dress ourselves in the morning.
We dress to impress.
That applies to the guys and girls who slap together goofy in-game outfits, too. You guys want to portray yourselves as fun, right?
There’s no harm in that! It does make you fun. I take one look at your character and decide I’d like to start a conversation with you.
Sparking up conversations based on outfits is commonplace outside the world of gaming. How often can you recall conversational ice breakers that started with complimenting a shirt you liked?
Sure, there was no guarantee you would like the person by the end of the conversation. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth a shot.
Online gaming is the same.
We sign in to our favorite immersive experience and hope to find the people we like. If they’re not around, we flutter around talking about different ice breakers until we can unite with a group of people we enjoy being around.
We’re already so close it hurts!
I mean, adding any more immersion would be dreadfully boring. Could you imagine playing a game that didn’t skip all the mundane stuff? If I need to sit and rest for three hours before hiking the rest of a trail… I wouldn’t need the game to assimilate that experience.
I would just step outside and hike a trail.
Where we’re at now is spectacular. I don’t want to nap inside a VR headset. It sounds sweaty and uncomfortable. I don’t want to dive into fictional rivers to restore a virtual cleanliness rating. I’d rather take my showers out here, in the real world.
I’d also rather not recreate the necessity to work 40 hours a week to make payments on my guild house. Animal Crossing already comes a little too close for my comfort zone! I still love you, Tom Nook. Thank you for the island retreat and the free iPhone.
But weeding out all the creeps at the bar and finding a social circle that already shares an interest as me? Sign me up!
As it stands, our virtual currency isn’t truly ours to share and sell. Most of the developers we’re buying cosmetic items from reserve the ownership rights to our merited items. It feels a little dirty.
Sure, they drew the objects and the art should be signed by them.
If an artist sells you a painting, you leave the signature. No problem. Still, the artist doesn’t come knocking on your door to reclaim that painting after a few months have passed.
Well, this threat occurred in League of Legends. During the Bilgewater: Burning Tides event, a paid DLC character named Gangplank was completely removed from the game due to some added story elements.
The character returned, but users were demanding refunds for their paid DLC before learning this.
Riot Games didn’t want to spoil the surprise. Instead, they pointed toward the fine print in their EULA and made the claim that in-game purchases were their property.
And if you want to auction off your items, that should be within your rights, too. Now that your in-game items retain a bit of value, it seems like an anti-consumer practice to prohibit you from having your own little virtual yard sale.
The game developers lose a few customers. Car dealerships lose customers all the time – when you sell a car you no longer have use for. Somehow they manage just fine. Yet game development studios issue bans for re-selling your old virtual items.
I’m not necessarily making a call-to-arms about protesting EULA’s. I’d just like to inform you of some relevant text that appears on your next million-page EULA that you’ll be required to sign.
These contracts weren’t always universal. Congress let them slide years ago to prevent software users from pirating and sharing free versions of software.
Congress gave our software overlords an inch and they took a mile. Nowadays they use EULA’s to reserve rights to ban you from products you paid for.
Thank god I don’t have to sign an agreement of minimum permitted grass height when I buy a lawnmower. Especially after I’ve already paid for it and removed all the packaging.
How did we let software come this far to stab us in the back? I guess it’s hard to turn down entertainment, especially the new and more impressive stuff.
Anyway, thanks for reading! Let me know what you think about MTX and EULA’s in the FB group, I’d love to hear your take!