Getting X’d Out

Although not definitive, this piece over on Reuters makes it sound increasingly as if Microsoft’s Xbox 2 “Marketplace” will be more like a corporate-run mall instead of an open-air flea market. That would be a shame imo. Having spent the last couple of days exploring Second Life where players actually create content within the virtual world and conduct both virtual and real monetary transactions directly, I’m having a hard time imagining how a closed virtual economy can be a good thing. If game developers interface to MS’s Marketplace – and there’s a strong likelihood they will – they’ll need Content to continue flowing long after the game ships to consumers. And unless they intend to diversify into what, in the real world, is essentially an after-market “parts” market, I expect that they’ll start outsourcing this secondary activity to “modders”. And of course, everyone loves middlemen and the power they have to control (aka raise) prices. Same as it ever was…

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