Making Money Playing - The Productivity of Games_-_M.a._jansen

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This research attempts to determine whether games have become productive. In his book Homo Ludens, Huizinga is convinced that money destroys play, which means that material interest has no place in play; it cannot enter the magic circle of play (1938, p. 13). Two decades later, Caillois criticized Huizinga, stating that although play is unproductive and does not create goods and wealth, it can include material interest (1958, p. 124). Both Huizinga's (1938) and Caillois' (1958) texts are not quite recent. In the meantime, the world has seen many changes that have had an impact on play. What has changed since Huizinga and Caillois wrote their texts? More recently, reports have been written about so-called 'goldfarms', where people work long hours in the virtual world of World of Warcraft, completing repetitive tasks in order to earn real-world legal tender; money (Dibbel, 2007 p. 1). The virtual world of World of Warcraft (WoW) is productive, as it affords a virtual economy through which digital artifacts are created, and are exchanged after valuation. However, this does not mean that WoW users have a playful attitude when they are working long hours in the virtual world in order to earn their bread and butter, repetitively doing a restrained and per-defined set of tasks instead of engaging in free play. In this way, they are in WoW, but outside the magic circle.
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  Utrecht UniversityFaculty of the HumanitiesDegree program: MA New Media & Digital CultureStudent: Mark A. JansenTitle: Making money playing: the productivity of gamesMonth and Year: November 2011Supervisor: S. LammesKeywords: money, productivity, gold farming, games, virtual world, world of warcraft, wow  Abstract This research attempts to determine whether games have become productive. In his book   Homo Ludens , Huizinga is convinced that money destroys play, which means that material interest has no place in play; it cannot enter the magic circle of play (1938, p. 13). Two decades later, Cailloiscriticized Huizinga, stating that although play is unproductive and does not create goods andwealth, it can include material interest (1958, p. 124). Both Huizinga's (1938) and Caillois' (1958)texts are not quite recent. In the meantime, the world has seen many changes that have had animpact on play. What has changed since Huizinga and Caillois wrote their texts? More recently,reports have been written about so-called 'goldfarms', where people work long hours in the virtualworld of World of Warcraft, completing repetitive tasks in order to earn real-world legal tender;money (Dibbel, 2007 p. 1). The virtual world of World of Warcraft (WoW) is productive, as itaffords a virtual economy through which digital artifacts are created, and are exchanged after valuation. However, this does not mean that WoW users have a playful attitude when they areworking long hours in the virtual world in order to earn their bread and butter, repetitively doing arestrained and per-defined set of tasks instead of engaging in free play. In this way, they are inWoW, but outside the magic circle.  Table of content 1.Introduction 2. Theory and analysis 2.1 Huizinga on play, material interest and the magic circle 2.2 Caillois on games and material interest 2.3 An analysis of the the (virtual) world economy 3.Conclusion 3.1 Suggestions for further research 4.Bibliography  1. Introduction From “Money is the root of all evil”, actually a misquote of the sentence The love of money is aroot of all kinds of evil from 1 Timothy 6:10 in the New Testament of the Bible to “Money makesthe world go round”, a bitter commentary from the musical play “Cabaret”, not everyone is alwaysat ease with the medium of exchange. Money is emotional. The relation between money and gamesis also not an easy one, to say the least.In his book   Homo Ludens , Huizinga is convinced that money destroys play, which means thatmaterial interest has no place in play (1938, p. 13). The economy thus remains outside what hemetaphorically describes as “the magic circle” (Huizinga, 1938 p. 10-13). Two decades later,Caillois criticized Huizinga, stating that although play is unproductive and does not create goodsand wealth, it can include material interest (1958, p. 124). More recently, reports have been writtenabout so-called 'goldfarms', where people work long hours in the virtual world of World of Warcraft, completing repetitive tasks in order to earn their living (Dibbel, 2007). This suggests thatover the years economic interests have entered the magic circle of play.This essay asks if games can be productive and if so, in what ways. It is interesting that although both Huizinga and Caillois make bold statements about money an play, neither Huizinga nor Caillois were trained economists. Do they adequately and consistently use terms such as 'materialinterest', 'productivity' and 'wealth'? Furthermore, both Huizinga's (1938) and Caillois' (1958) textsare not quite recent. In the meantime, the world has seen many changes that probably have had animpact on play. What has changed since Huizinga and Caillois wrote their texts? With theastonishing success of World of Warcraft (WoW) and other virtual worlds, people have been able togenerate real world legal tender, money, derived from these worlds. Have games become productive?
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