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Sunday, May 15, 2005

GREETINGS, LOS ANGELES TIMES READERS!

... if you stumbled onto this blog after reading Alex Pham's excellent LA Times cover story, you may be interested in having a look at my own profile of real estate tycoon Anshe Chung, the Resident who's featured prominently in Pham's article. Ms. Chung also makes an appearance here, in the story of a Chinese "sweatshop" worker who recently arrived in Second Life seeking her own fortune (or at least, her boss'), and whose own narrative is continued here. Pham mentions the owner of the Indigo region, too-- his adventures in digital land acquisition were described last year here and here. Some background on the microeconomic theories that drive Second Life are featured here; the assessment of virtual land is covered here.

Pham's article does leave the impression that land speculation is the only path to financial success, in-world, and that's not quite correct. For instance, many nightclub owners, along with fashion designers and make-up artists (i.e., avatar customizers) also do fairly well, too; not to mention the odd game developer. It's also worth mentioning stories I've written that deal with the emotional and pragmatic appeal of virtual land ownership. You can find the latter in the story of Jason Foo, a severely injured combat veteran who returned from Afghanistan to rebuild his post-war life by becoming a casino maven, and more on the former in the story of Catherine Omega, who once built a mansion while homeless and squatting in an abandoned apartment builing. (And as it happens, I interviewed the legendary Ms. Omega almost exactly two years ago, very soon after taking this reporting gig.)

Questions? Feel free to post them in the Commentary section below, and I'll do my best to get you up to speed on this world of ours.

Posted at 10:27 PM | Permalink

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