Calling All Virtual Toshiro Mifunes…

|

Reader Rodney Smith points us to this piece, via Slashdot, in the New Scientist about virtual crime and punishment in the land of the Seven Samurai:

A man has been arrested in Japan on suspicion carrying out a virtual mugging spree by using software "bots" to beat up and rob characters in the online computer game Lineage II. The stolen virtual possessions were then exchanged for real cash.

Whole thing here.

Advertisement

NEXT: Ban Pop Art!

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. The name is Yoshimi
    She’s a black belt in karate

    working for the city
    she has to discipline her body

    cuz she knows that
    it’s demanded
    to defeat those
    evil machines

  2. The fine vigilante sword stylings of Hiro Protagonist cannot be far away. This is unfortunate, as I disliked Snowcrash.

  3. I’m waiting for the news that the victims of the virtual muggings are suing the designers, developers, and publishers of Lineage II. Maybe it won’t come ’cause this happened in Japan – if it was the good ol’ USA, the lawyers would be breaking down the doors of the victims trying to be first in line for the lawsuit.

  4. I dunno what Lineage 2’s Japanese EULA looks like, but online game end-user license agreements in the US always are careful to disallow lawsuits. They do this by simply asserting that the company operating the game ‘owns’ all the data — which means the virtual goods.

    There is a dollars-to-game-currency economy; you can check the exchange rate for your game of choice at http://www.ige.com. But this economy is (in almost all cases) against the license agreement, and thus a black market.

    One which does well enough to keep IGE afloat, though… is that a win for free markets? I can’t tell.

  5. How is this illegal? I can see him losing his account, but not getting arrested.

  6. I believe I read an article somewhere noting that licensing agreements are starting to change to turn the black market white, precisely because the game companies know that off-line interaction makes online games “stickier”.

    Some new games are actually going to include marketplaces where players can spend real cash to get items, and conduct player-to-player transactions of exactly this kind.

    The concept of an online “mugging” is a bit unusual, though. Since the point of these games is generally for players to beat each other up and steal each other’s online possessions, players can’t really claim extortion when items they’ve lost are sold back to them. I guess in this case the arrested player had hacked the system in some way, and his real crime is hacking, not that he tried to later sell the proceeds of his hackery.

  7. The Ten Commandments are regularly violated in Massively Multiplayer Online Games as follows:

    1) Worshipping GMs from Other games
    2) Crafting graven images
    3) Spamming “YHWH” to the shout channel
    4) Raiding on the Sabbath
    5) New Guildees bringing a bad name on the guild
    6) PKing, duh!
    7) Online affairs and marriages
    8) Improving theft skills
    9) Lying to the GMs about exploits
    10) Complaining about not enough phat lewt

  8. The fine vigilante sword stylings of Hiro Protagonist cannot be far away. This is unfortunate, as I disliked Snowcrash.

    But Jeff, surely you’ll listen to Reason?

  9. The fine vigilante sword stylings of Hiro Protagonist cannot be far away. This is unfortunate, as I disliked Snowcrash.

    This is unfortunate, as I disliked Snowcrash.

    as I disliked Snowcrash.

    I disliked Snowcrash.

    I disliked Snowcrash.

    I disliked Snowcrash.

    I disliked Snowcrash.

    WHAAAAAH?? You what???

    Yeretic! Tear off your geek insignia, you freakin’ mundane! And get the hell out of The Black Sun, before we sic a hulking radioactive spear-throwing Aleutian drug-dealer on your butt. Snow Crash is still one of my all-time favorite books.

    Yeah, mediageek, time to break out the Last Argument of Kings. And remember: “You’ve got a friend in the Family.” (Paid for by the Our Thing Foundation.)

    /in-jokes.

  10. Above her, hanging on the foyer wall facing the main entrance, is a framed poster with a garland of well-browned jasmine blossoms hung around it. It consists of a photo of the wildly grinning Mr. Lee, with the usual statement underneath:

    The Honorable
    Mister Lee
    WELCOME!

    It is my pleasure to welcome all quality folks to visiting of Hong Kong. Whether seriously in business or on a fun-loving hijink, make yourself totally homely in this meager environment. If any aspect is not utterly harmonious, gratefully bring it to my notice and I shall strive to earn your satisfaction.

    We of Greater Hong Kong take many prides in our tiny nation’s extravagant growth. The ones who saw our isle as a morsel of Red China’s pleasure have struck their faces in keen astonishment to see many great so-called powers of the olden guard reel in dismay before our leaping strides and charged-up hustling, freewheeling idiom of high-tech personal accomplishment and betterment of all peoples. The potentials of all ethnic races and anthropologies to merge under a banner of the Three Principles to follow:

    1. Information, information, information!

    2. Totally fair marketeering!

    3. Strict ecology!

    have been peerless in the history of economic strife.

    Who would distain to subscribe under this flowing banner? If you have not attained your Hong Kong citizenship, apply for a passport now! In this month, the usual fee of HK$100 will be kindly neglected. Fill out a coupon (below) now. If coupons are lacking, dial 1-800-HONG-KONG instantly to apply from the help of our wizened operators.

    Mr. Lee’s Greater Hong Kong is a private, wholly extraterritorial, sovereign, quasi-national entity not recognised by any other nationalities and in now way affiliated with the former Crown Colony of Hong Kong, which is part of the People’s Republic of China. The People’s Republic of China admits or accepts no responsibility for Mr. Lee, the Government of Greater Hong Kong, or any of the citizens thereof, or for any violations of local law, personal injury, or property damage occuring in territories, buildings, municipalities, institutions, or real estate owned, occupied, or claimed by Mr. Lee’s Greater Hong Kong.

    Join us instantly!
    Your enterprising partner,
    Mr. Lee

    — Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash

    How can you not fall in love with this?

  11. How is this illegal? I can see him losing his account, but not getting arrested.

    you don’t understand. this is the Japanese we’re talking about. if you try to explain to them, “it’s only a videogame”, you’ll only confuse them.

  12. Oh, I loved the setting and window dressing of Snow Crash, but I hated the story. The religious infodumps were heavy handed and obtuse. There’s no explanation as to how 3d goggles and earphones allow a man to be a master swordsman in cyberspace. The climax is Raven and Enzo walking around a plane. The massive Chekov’s Gun of the A-bomb never goes off. Way too many characters exist only to dump info, then walk away. Sad.
    I find this particularly frustrating given how many great characters there were. Enzo, Lee, even Fido.
    If you want a decent corporate-caste stoy, go read Warren Ellis’ Transmetropolitan comics.

  13. Big fan of Snowcrash. Bigger fan of the Baroque Cycle. Stephenson’s mastery of language makes me feel inadequate.

    And yes, we should all listen to Reason.

  14. Oh, I loved the setting and window dressing of Snow Crash, but I hated the story. The religious infodumps were heavy handed and obtuse. There’s no explanation as to how 3d goggles and earphones allow a man to be a master swordsman in cyberspace. The climax is Raven and Enzo walking around a plane. The massive Chekov’s Gun of the A-bomb never goes off. Way too many characters exist only to dump info, then walk away. Sad.

    So in other words, you can’t think of one single specific reason! 🙂

    OK, then.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.