It’s a crime how They brought down MyWorld. Yes, there have been warnings from citizens of the possible negative consequences but most, myself included, did not see the risk. Or maybe we did not want to see the risk. In part this might have been because many of the objections brought forth were ideological in nature.
Many were against the financial link between our virtual world and the real world from the beginning when such ideas had been brought up. They considered it unfair that rich outsiders should be able to buy their way into our virtual world. Your status and what you own in a virtual world should only depend on what you build yourself these fundamentalists argued. However, since MyWorld allowed for barter and gifts this position could not be defended against the pragmatic majority of the community. It didn’t even require any campaigning by the Designers to influence the outcome of the referendum.
Critics got more and more silent as the economic benefits started to trickle through to everybody. Initially earnings from selling virtual goods were mainly considered pocket money. But as more and more outsiders with deep pockets but no time or no knowledge strove to establish a virtual presence it became possible for more and more producers of virtual goods and services to make a living out of what initially just was a very time consuming hobby. The volume of goods and services in MyWorld grew rapidly and after only five years the total size of virtual world economies was big enough to justify a separate category in the national GDP statistics.
By then critical voices had disappeared completely and nobody seriously thought that something might go terribly wrong. Only very slowly did we citizens get aware of suspicious phenomena. For example #Architect_99 had come up with a coating for surfaces that made them appear as if they were there and not there at the same time. Within a few weeks such coatings were seen on a lot of prestigious structures of MyWorld. The first appearances of such coating material not built by #Architect_99 were not disturbing. The coating consisted of Morix, Creduq and Shabnas elements and it was the pattern by which they were assembled that finally generated that mysterious glow. Since there were no patents or copyrights citizens were free to copy the idea. However, Creduq and Shabnas were rare and difficult to mine and this made it hard to imagine how suddenly so much of the coating material could be produced. More generally it seemed that prices for most goods in MyWorld constantly declined despite it not becoming easier to mine the raw materials.
Even in the light of these peculiarities the Secret Files came as a shock. But at last all the observed strange phenomena made sense. It was a shock to read that the Designers had used their superior insight into the MyWorld economy to spot commercial trends and then to reproduce such trendy goods out of thin air – a privilege only the Designers had – and sell them in large quantities and reap huge profits.
It might be difficult to take legal actions against the Designers since it is not always clear how national laws are applicable to virtual worlds. But whether the Designer will ever be charged with fraud is almost irrelevant. MyWorld is wasteland. After reputable brands withdrew from MyWorld prices collapsed indefinitely and most citizens left for other Worlds. Some hope remains, though. As long as the servers are not shut down there is a chance that some of the pioneers will come back and start transforming MyWorld again such that it might actually start looking much more like we used to know OurWorld in its early days.

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