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Apr 18, 2007



Nick Carr's math is of course completely bogus. He's considering only the currently logged in avatars for his consumption figures, not the population of Second Life. That's the same result as if we only counted awake people for energy consumption...


There is considerable discussion on this point on Nick's site. As an exercise in illustration, I think his comparison of an avatar (vs Brazilian) on an hourly rate is, well, illustratively adequate.


And how many minutes can you operate an Aircraft Carrier per man year of Second Life energy consumption?


It's always bugged me that people have a maintenance cost (clean water, edible food, lease/maintenance for shelter), but avatars don't. Well, we tend to pay for our avatar's maintenance in meatspace currencies, but that's outside the magic circle -- the avatar itself doesn't pay for it's maintenance in the avatar's own currencies.

We import meatspace dollars to virtual reality to maintain an avatar... I wonder if the avatar can do useful work that can be exported to maintain the meatspace resources it consumes for it's survival?

... gilselling and other RMT is a trivial example. Entropia and Eve Online offering to sell timecards using the game's own currency is more like what I'm thinking of.


... doh, forgot to sign my "It's always bugged me" comment.


I remember this topic from Clickable Culture, so I'll repeat what I said there- I think you have to compare the energy use of someone logged onto SL or WoW or whatever, compared to someone doing something else. And in time, maybe virtual worlds will be the only way for people to meet across the world, because the energy cost of jetting around to conferences would be too great, so people stay home and fire up their PC instead.

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