The Sims Online-A Virtual World

Thanks to technology advancements, creating virtual worlds from the imagination has become possible in the game The Sims. You pick a place for your world to reside and the people in it. If the user wants, they can even decide to place a virtual version of themselves into the game. What is truly amazing however, is when gaming producers created a new version of the game called The Sims Online, where users interact with other users.

By doing this, The Sims Online literally turned into a virtual world connecting people to a world community online. The gaming format did not change much; for example, like in the regular game The Sims, you can pick where your character will reside, but in The Sims Online the other characters in the game are other users around the world. You can chat to other characters, and even buy and sell items from other users;thus creating a virtual economy in the process.

It is amazing how this virtual economy and world mimic our own, and that the economy in the game follows a free market model with no supervision from a government to stimulate downturns and inflation. [And yes, both can exist in the game.] It is solely up to the users to create items and to try to sell them at a reasonable ‘price’. So why did the fabricators of The Sims Online choose it to have a free market? The answer is that they didn’t.

The creators of the game merely allowed for the characters to be able to barter items, and the virtual economy took off on its own. The users could have chosen to have different values and objectives in the game, but instead most decided to try to make a profit from whatever items they could find [which gave way to scams and deception]. According to Schumacher in the Buddhist Economics, countries do not need to have a modern economy but rather should choose the kind of economy that bests mirrors their religion and viewpoints. Therefore, in the end, it is up to the users to try to create a fair virtual economy in their world; because all in all, the virtual world’s economy is what they make it out to be.

-Stephanie Remy

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