The world according to Edward Castronova
The Chronicle of Higher Education has an article in the July 6 issue on the recent activities of Edward Castronova in furthering the study of online gaming and virtual worlds. Two years ago we published his book, Synthetic Worlds: The Business and Culture of Online Games.
Castronova has been working on several new projects at Indiana University. One is the construction of the online space Arden, a virtual world that draws upon Shakespeare’s works. Castronova “sees Arden as the first virtual environment among many at Indiana that will serve as a ‘petri dish’ for large-scale social-science experiments.… Experiments could involve testing basic economic principles, setting up different political systems, communist or capitalist, and comparing how the communities evolve, or doing an ethnographic study that contrasts people from different parts of the world.” A test experiment will take place in August.
Another project is “an unusual academic conference that tries to replicate the enthusiasm and hubbub that people experience playing competitive online games.” Ludium II, the second conference in the series, was held last month. Participants used the role-playing technique of online games to create a set of public policies for virtual worlds. “The group came up with ten policies for virtual worlds that they decided to send to Congressional and presidential candidates in the 2008 elections.”
Learn more about the worlds of Edward Castronova at his blog, Terranova.
Also read our interview with the Castronova.