Our Sense of Valid Value Changeth

On Terra Nova Nate Combs wrote about how in Eve Online sometimes pilots develop a bit of a bond with their drones (kind of like pets in other games).

I realize Nate was thinking in a slightly different direction than I am, so I am using his post as a conversation-starter.  It’s fairly obvious we become emotionally invested in a game.  But for the most part I think there is this sense that a game is not “as valid” as, say, building a car, or working in an office.

It’s that sense of apporpriate value, “valid value” that I see games, especially MMOs forcing us to revisit.  In a way I can see a shift happening, both economically and culturally, from the current assumption that “game items are not really valuable and the time spent likewise isn’t truly valuable” to the acceptance that building a physical car is not significantly different than creating a virtual item, and most importantly, the time spent doing so is just as valid.  As such, I see the economies of MMOs eventually being fully embraced by the “real world” economy.

Here’s the extreme:

A person is extremely wealthy in-game but poverty-stricken in real life.  Is that okay?

I think one’s answer that question should be a decent indicator of their opinion on the question of “valid value”.

I’m just going to end it there.  There is currently a change in the general sense of what is “valuable”, and it seems games have forced that question upon us in many ways.