[MUD-Dev] Re: Black Snow Revisited - Value Of Time

Dave Hochstaetter dhochstaetter at revelationgames.com
Thu Apr 11 13:18:40 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

Brandon J. Van Every wrote:

> I'm not criticizing this notion in terms of finance or legalese;
> I'm criticizing it as a game design.

The interesting thing is game design has absolutely no bearing
whatsoever on this issue now that is has reached this point. The
court system will systematically strip any such bearings out of it,
and specifically focus on the rights/money at hand. At this point,
that is what it is all about,

  - Show me the Money!
BSI wants a piece of the gaming industries dollars and feels they
have a right to their business model. Thus, they are challenging who
owns the time a player spends in a fictional medium. This also
includes the right to sell to someone else possessions of items,
characters, and accounts because of the time spent in game.

Additionally, this case may well have impact on how games are
designed in the future, whereas such things may need to be taken
into account by being tracked tallied, and forecasted. (NOTE: Taking
into account, the developers need to show financial harm by BSI.) 
Many development cycles include timelines for progression through a
game, story, or level, in terms of playing time. That is a core
value of development. If the game plays too long, you may loose the
player. If you allow the player to progress to quickly, they may
feel the product has cheated them. Thus loosing a customer on future
products. A result of this case, may be attaching a monetary value
to the time spent by the players in acquisition of items within a
product for in game use to combat companies such as BSI establishing
a business as a trading company for in game assets.

Similarly, for a company that allows the sales of in game items to
players for real world money, this can be used as a measure of value
for the item, since the non-official market operates with some
consideration to time/value ratio, at least according to BSI.

> It would be a tacit admission that all your game does is waste
> people's time.

Many non-gamers specifically feel that way about nearly all
games. Many non-gamers look at the case, shake their heads wondering
what the world has come to, and label the case an example of a
frivolous lawsuit.

Beyond that, all entertainment is at some level specifically geared
to waste time. In the time spent/wasted, there may be gains of joy,
sorrow, enlightenment, or even education. Entertainment is a luxury,
and one, which in the absence of work/duty or some other
nomenclature can be and often is labeled a waste of time.

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