We can debate the relative “realness” of virtual space all we want. But our synthetic worlds continue to strive for a tangibility that is not always graphics based:
This specter of corruption has emerged most recently not in some post-colonial trouble spot but in the virtual nation of an Internet game called Eve Online (population 200,000) where aspiring star pilots fight over thousands of solar systems in a vast science-fiction universe every day.
So now, in a sociological twist, the company that makes Eve, CCP, based in Iceland (population 300,000), says it will tackle the problem the way a democracy would. In what appears to be a first, the company plans to hold elections so that players can select members of an oversight committee.
The company will then fly those players to Iceland regularly so they can audit CCPâ€™s operations and report back to their player-constituents. And taking cues from transitions to democracy in the developing world, CCP says it will call in election monitors from universities in Europe and the United States.
So, get this straight, a game company is electing a virtual citizen’s oversight board comprised of real people to fly on real planes to Iceland, just to make sure the fabric of the virtual space maintains a sort of social crediblity necessary for outer space adventuring verisimilitude.