There She Goes

by walkerspaight on 23/02/06 at 1:47 am

It happens to the best of us: the lure of a steady paycheck overcomes the strong desire to sit at a desk in our apartments all day staring into a computer screen (not surprisingly). So it is that Terra Nova‘s Betsy Book has been snapped up by the virtual world of, which bills itself as “the online virtual world that is your everyday hangout.” Hopefully, Betsy, in her new role as Director of Product Management, can do something about that slogan. Although it may not be as hard as it might at first appear. apparently has some 300,000 members, according to some reports. While that number may be just as meaningless as the 150,000 members Second Life records, it’s still twice as many meaningless members. And that has to mean something.

One Response to “There She Goes”

  1. Prokofy Neva

    Feb 23rd, 2006

    That’s an important story, as it highlights several things. One, There, which everyone always attacks in SL as being too bourgeois or pedestrian or filled with things like eating animations or something like TSO, does have twice as many meaningless numbers — and isn’t really dead, if it can attract a person like Betsy Book. So maybe it’s worth checking out again. I remember what turned me off to There was the presence of cliques of helpers standing around in the Welcome Area gossiping (gosh, sounds like my other favourite game space) and their inability to refrain from being condescending when trying to “help”. Games aren’t user friendly, often, unless you have a pre-existing network of friends who bring you into the game, let you by-pass the Welcome Area/Mentors/Wizards/Freebie/Come to my Store rackets and get you into the game some other way.

    The other really fascinating thing about this story is it confirms my long-held suspicion that this “academic study” surrounding the game companies is an awful lot like the kind of thing I’ve seen in other settings (the “academic study” surrounding the Soviet Union contained people moving agily from “study” in “independent academe” right into government, multilateral institutions, or military-industrial corporations). That’s a normal phenomenon, because people are people, and sure, what better person to…study…government or the military-industrial complex than a person who was formerly in government? And what better person to take into the military-industrial complex but a person who was formerly in government? And what person better to take into the

    Of course lefties, when they look at a figure like Richard Perle, who used to be called the Prince of Darkness, will wax all indignant that he moves from government, to consulting for Caspian Sea oil companies, to academe, to influence-pedding firms, to government again, if only by government-by-suburban-committee of friends of those actually *in* government, etc. They find this proof of “evil”.

    When the same thing happens with their favourites game companies, they applaud. Finally, somebody who was studying in academe, not getting tenure, earning a pittance perhaps in some midwestern school, or somebody eaking out a meager existence freelancing for game blogs and game industry journals gets “a real job” in the world of making virtual worlds, they applaud. Filled with scorn, they turn on you like junk-yard dogs in a meeting of Digital Cultures and say, “but aren’t the best people to understand The Platform All Hail the Central Holy Platform the people who came from the resident base, etc.?”

    But that’s why, when Pathfinder touts an article by Betsy Book in the forums, and it only has Aimee and Cubey in it again, and I point that out, and satirize them, and don’t even violate the TOS in any actual way (far from the kinds of violations that the real forums junk-yard dogs engage in), I can instantly get warned and permabanned. I pointed out that there was a kind of racket in this world where Pathfinder touts Betsy who touts the FIC who reinforces the FIC for the Lindens — and it never breaks out of the charmed circle. Gosh, with all that touting and mentionings in the forums, she should have gotten her job at Linden Lab. Of course, we don’t know how the interviews went?

    So, yes, a supposedly critical academic and supposedly independent journalist got a job at a game company. This, of course, completely hollows out the credibility of the independent journalism and independent academic study that is supposedly done about the multi-million (billion?) dollar game industry. Now this newly-minted game company executive is going to get…her cronies in the independent journalism and independent academic circuits to hype There. Watch how There suddenly starts to look like the Here to be at. Buzz! Watch how all these FICtards who were five minutes ago dissing There as being not cool are now going to sneak off on weekend trips to There and declare it as the season’s New Black (just like they secretly shop at Walmart and then declare some kitschy thing they got at Walmart as the cool new accessory).

    So watch to see if the eggheads at Terra Nova get any more critical — or stay critical — of There; watch to see if the FIC suddenly discovers There — and watch to see if Walker gets a job at a game company. He did have a book in it; but perhaps Eve needs a brillian game writer? Somehow, we have to help Walker monetarize his time on line.

Leave a Reply