Why Governments aren't Gods and Gods aren't Governments

Richard A. Bartle


Virtual worlds (also known as MMORPGs, MMOGs and assorted other acronyms [1]) raise awkward questions concerning how they are governed, central to which is the status of the developers of such worlds. The currently solidifying view of the legal establishment is that developers themselves are the de facto government of their respective creations, while being in turn subject to the laws of whatever real–world government asserts jurisdiction. The players of virtual worlds, however, while agreeing that real–world governments take precedence, have traditionally not considered developers to be acting as governments; rather they regard them as deities for their (virtual) reality.
This paper argues that the players’ view is the better metaphor, insofar as it leads to better virtual worlds (experientially and artistically) than does the developers–as–government model.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5210/fm.v0i0.1612

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