It’s a game called Second Life where, like World of Warcraft, users earn game money by acquiring objects and completing tasks in a virtual world.
However, Second Life is different in two very big ways. The first is that objects and tasks that one can find/do in this virtual world can be created by players instead of just by the game programmers. The second difference is that game money can be converted into REAL money (i.e. cash).
Friends tell me that there are people who play this game to create objects that they then sell to other game users for game money. These users then convert the game money into real dollars thus creating income for themselves in the real world.
The game also allows users to purchase real estate and amass property rights which can then be sold for money.
A game like this is going to have huge implications for the real world both economically and socially. There is already organized crime in the Second Life world foreshadowing what we can look forward to seeing in a “Wild West” style capitalist society.
The real question in my mind is when will the lax social conventions of the virtual world start to bleed into the real world. My guess is that with real money at stake, the boundaries break down pretty quickly.