Within the gaming community, news of players assaulting or even killing other online game players isn’t really new. And here is a follow-up over on the BBC News website to one story that made the rounds recently about a Chinese player so infuriated over the sale of his loaned, virtual sword that he killed another player.
Now what’s interesting to me is how the general public will shake its collective head in disbelief. Understandable. Murder for any reason doesn’t make much sense to me. But for every “crazy” it’s-only-a-game story, there are doubtlessly hundreds of equally nonsensical ones that most of us now don’t think about twice (and I suspect more and more the evening news doesn’t report about them because they’re not sufficiently sensational to keep advertisers happy). Some possible examples:
– murder over a pair of sporting tickets (just to see something you could probably watch on television for free)
– murder over some cheap family heirloom (that has no value beyond the sentimental)
– murder over drunken comments made at a bar (when words are at their cheapest)
– murder over a sporting affiliation (because not cheering for the team wearing the right uniform is simply a killing offense)
– murder due to jealousy (because when you love someone, you have to control them and sometimes kill them)
– murder over skin color (because… well, just because)
– murder over religious beliefs (…!…)
So can someone explain to me how killing someone over a virtual sword is any different than the above? I’m having a difficult time segregating.