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Baffled By the Obsession With Pretend-Business Games

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the consensual-insanity dept.

Social Networks 252

theodp writes "Newsweek's Daniel Lyons confesses to being mystified by all the people tending to their virtual farms and virtual pets on Facebook. Even stranger, he says, is their willingness to spend real money to buy virtual products, like pretend guns and fertilizer, to gain advantage in these Web-based games. Pretend products are a serious business, estimated to grow to $1.6B next year, and have captured the attention of economists and academics who view the virtual economy as a lab for modeling behavior in the real world. Still, Lyons can't help but question whether the kind of people who spend hours online taking care of imaginary pets are representative of the rest of the population. 'The data might be "perfect" and "complete,"' says Lyons, 'but the world from which it's gathered is anything but that.'"

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252 comments

Business Games (5, Interesting)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551064)

I was more surprised by the title, and then summary disappointed me with Farmville and other crap. Where have the actual business games gone? We had titles like Capitalism II [wikipedia.org] , all the different kinds of tycoon, simulators... Where are those now?

Re:Business Games (1)

Shrike82 (1471633) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551090)

...the different kinds of tycoon, simulators... Where are those now?

On Steam, wrapped in DOSBox and still as good as ever. I suggest we all ignore this story and go buy Railroad Tycoon!

Re:Business Games (3, Interesting)

MattGWU (86623) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551134)

Went to Second Life, for the most part! Can be Land Tycoon, Mall Tycoon, BDSM Gear Tycoon, whatever you want! You'll need a store, products, a marketing plan, heck, servers! A lot of the concerns and requirements of a real business are present in the SL enterprise, if on a smaller scale. For a 'business sim', it's pretty complete, and the money is real!

What do you call... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31551198)

What do you call an Irishmen in a dress suit?

The defendant.

What do you call an employed Liberal Arts major?

A McDonald's McFry Engineer.

Reasoning: Most people are idiots, so a government cannot be absolutely democratic or representative. Fortunately, Ivy League and other post secondary institutions are forward thinking enough to limit social mobility through legacy preferences. Alexander Hamilton was right.

--

MADONNA WILL MATCH YOUR CONTRIBUTION TO MALAWI!
Contribute to the future of children in Malawi by contributing: raisingmalawi.org [raisingmalawi.org]
MADONNA IS THE QUEEN!

Currently listening to: Like a Virgin and Like a Prayer simultaneously while editing pictures Pope Gregory in Photoshop

Sincerely,
Barack Obama Lover

Re:What do you call... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31551314)

Fuck you Slashdot. You fucked up my post!

Re:Business Games (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551260)

They went out of fashion together with adventures. The times of "brainy" games are gone. Since games got mainstream and the average IQ of the average gamer dropped below room temperature, what's left is twitch games. Hell, even RTS games are more twitch than planning these days.

Yeah, mod me flamebait all you want, you know it's true.

Less than 300 IQ? (5, Funny)

Velodra (1443121) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551960)

the average IQ of the average gamer dropped below room temperature

The average IQ of the average gamer has always been less than room temperature (assuming a room temperature of about 293 K).

Re:Business Games (1)

madpansy (1410973) | more than 4 years ago | (#31552056)

Hell, even RTS games are more twitch than planning these days.

All RTS games require some amount of speed and precision, giving an advantage to players who control their units skillfully and efficiently. If you expect otherwise, play turn based strategy games instead.

Re:Business Games (2, Insightful)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551530)

You missed the big one: World of Warcraft. Many people don't realize this, but it's quite possible to make hundreds of gold just by sitting around and buying and selling stuff.

Re:Business Games (1)

chibiace (898665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551622)

and then sell the gold in online auctions for real cash.

Re:Business Games (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31551564)

Transport Tycoon was rewritten, and is now open source -> www.openttd.org, hast multiplayer with up to 255 clients, bots, custom graphics packs and a lot lot more.

Re:Business Games (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 4 years ago | (#31552064)

these games make heavy use of a mouse, game consoles do not have a mouse pr default.

He was also on SCO's side for _years_ (5, Informative)

eddy (18759) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551094)

Just saying, maybe [google.com] we should take that into account.

Re:He was also on SCO's side for _years_ (4, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551546)

Not only that but ... ermmmm DUH!
In a world of reality tv, real housewives, and shopping networks etc. why should anyone be _surprised_ that real vegetables will spend real money and real time trying to grow virtual vegetables?

We used to smirk at stamp collectors and train spotters. Now we have virtual farmers and others. The world has not changed, we simply have an easier way to collect data about people with odd hobbies, like stupid lawsuits, stupid patents, karaoke, leg warmer collecting, virtual farming, and many more.

Or maybe they are just bored at work?

Not surprised (5, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551106)

Dan "Lyin'" Lyons is mystified by many things.

He's still mystified why SCOX.PK hasn't buried IBM.

--
BMO

Re:Not surprised (5, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551448)

You got four mod points, I'm jealous. Where do I buy some?

Re:Not surprised (4, Funny)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551468)

You got four mod points, I'm jealous. Where do I buy some?

Don't give the overlords here any ideas, you fool!

Re:Not surprised (1)

Hieronymus Howard (215725) | more than 4 years ago | (#31552042)

Lyons saw through SCO a very long time ago now. He just took longer to do so than the rest of us and was suckered by Darl's lies (as were a lot of people who bought SCO's worthless stock at stupidly high prices).

Between the lines (4, Funny)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551116)

So reading between the lines Mr. Lyon's comment is basically, "Am I really surrounded by Assholes and Morons and am I also their King (intellectual superior)?"

Dannny...... The average Slashdotter has that thought 45 times a day dealing with other people. Watch Idiocracy some time and then tell me with a straight face it is not a documentary of the future.

There's an xkcd for that (1)

bryan_is_a_kfo (976654) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551248)

Re:There's an xkcd for that (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31551476)

I find that xkcd ironic, because the conclusion is the very intro to Idiocracy: The bickering, hesitant couple never reproduces. They're deliberately portrayed as unlikable, stuck-up people. The movie isn't just the narration. The story doesn't take sides. And no, Idiocracy is not a documentary of the future, it is a satire of the present, with 20 percent more electrolytes.

Re:Between the lines (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551298)

Future? I'm sorry, are you from the past?

Re:Between the lines (1)

Lord_Breetai (66113) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551544)

Future? I'm sorry, are you from the past?

Maybe he was part of a military experiment...

Re:Between the lines (1)

tecnico.hitos (1490201) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551724)

"King" is not the most adequate expression. The only ones who are actually getting to rule anything are the FarmMafia developers and managers.

Bell Curve Appeal (2, Interesting)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551120)

These games appeal to the 50th percentile. More "serious" video games require more time investment and interest, which is out of the realm of possibility for most normal folks.

The same reason is why we have so many bland US and Japanese brand sedans, and unexciting light fixtures, and bland music, and beige computers (less, these days though). By definition, there are more people in the 50th percentile, thus we will always have woefully average stuff.

Re:Bell Curve Appeal (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551182)

By definition, there are more people in the 50th percentile

Actually, every percentile contains 1% of the population.

Re:Bell Curve Appeal (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551288)

Until you apply the bell curve to it, right?

Re:Bell Curve Appeal (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31551436)

Actually, every percent contains 1% of the population. Since percentile is cummulative, every percentile contains 1% more of the population than the previous one. Thus, by definition, nobody is in the 100th percentile, everybody is in the 0th percentile, and the 50th percentile contains exactly half the population. Therefore there are exactly as many people in the 50th percentile as there are not in it.

dom

Re:Bell Curve Appeal (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551482)

Thank god for that! That means my standing in the 99th percentile is safe!

Re:Bell Curve Appeal (1)

Ghubi (1102775) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551472)

Technically you are correct, but that's not the point. Assuming a normal distribution 68% are within one standard deviation of the mean. 95% within two standard deviations. Theoretically targeting the 50th percentile provides access to the largest possible market. In practice, I think Facebook games are aimed at the lowest common denominator.

Re:Bell Curve Appeal (4, Interesting)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551306)

That's false. Most people I know spend *way* more time on Farmville than I've spend on, for instance, Contra 4 or Dead Space.

I spend more time on casual games, like Sim Tower, than "hardcore" games. Casual people just tell themselves they spend less time on games because to say you spend loads of time on a game apparently makes you a dork and a loser

Re:Bell Curve Appeal (1)

Carewolf (581105) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551394)

These games appeal to the 50th percentile. More "serious" video games require more time investment and interest, which is out of the realm of possibility for most normal folks.

50th percentile? That is kind of an insulting term for "Women", because these games appeal to woman, who have different gaming habbits than men.

Do you know what average means? (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551510)

there are more people in the 50th percentile, thus we will always have woefully average stuff.

No, you'll always have average stuff because when you have a population of *anything*, the middle of that population is always by definition, average. It has nothing to do with how many of them there are.

 

Re:Do you know what average means? (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551574)

Sheesh, everyone is criticizing my 50% comment as if they've never heard of normal distribution. Distribution is not even from the 1 to 100th percentile (as one reply states), and contrary to your post, it has EVERYTHING to do with how many there are. By definition, on a normal distribution, there are the most people at the 50th percentile and 68% of everyone in a normal distribution will fall within 1 standard deviation of the mean. Sure, it doesn't matter if there are 500 or 5,000,000 (if that's what you mean by "nothing to do with how many there are"). I'm just helping the guy who wrote the story understand that average folks play average games because there are, by definition, more of them (68% or so, on a standard bell curve).

Re:Do you know what average means? (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551582)

I was rethinking your post and maybe this helps clarify.

The middle of anything is, by definition, average. I was connecting the mathematical term "average" with the subjective word "average" as in, "this product is neither good nor bad..it's average."

The propensity of average people to be attracted to average stuff is not a mathematical phenomena, rather a social one, is all I'm saying. Toyota builds boring Camry's in boring colors because that appeals to the middle of the bell curve, which has more potential customers. And the same goes for things like Farmville...hope that makes better sense.

Re:Do you know what average means? (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551982)

So perhaps what you meant was "mediocre". An adjective denoting the relative quality of something.

On that, I happen to disagree. You think paint colour defines the mediocrity of a vehicle? That sounds more like mediocrity of thought. Japanese cars; Honda, Toyota have quality records that put all the European and American manufacturers to shame. How could a Toyota Prius (or Honda Insight) be called mediocre or middle of the bell curve? The premier military vehicle in the world? Not the Hummvee, but the Toyota Hilux 4x4 pickup. Damned near indestructible and no warlord's army could function without them. The premier 4x4 in Saudi? Toyota Landcruiser because nothing else survives the desert. Camrys could well simply be the "best" vehicles in their class, and if that happens to be the case, the "50th percentile" would likely be buying the best their money could afford.

Disclaimer. I neither own any Toyota products, nor stock/shares in any Toyota business.

If only we could harness this in RL (4, Interesting)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551128)

I think this is an indicator that a lot of people would like to own/operate a business, and have an entrepreneurial spirit, but are too bogged by the realities of risk and especially legal burden to carry out their entrepreneurial instinct in real life. Imagine how many jobs we could create if people felt safe enough to be able to play these games in the real world.

Re:If only we could harness this in RL (5, Insightful)

Skidborg (1585365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551168)

You forget that real businesses require real work, and are a whole lot harder to progress in than a game that is engineered to let you slowly creep up the ladder of success no matter how inept you are.

Re:If only we could harness this in RL (4, Insightful)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551400)

Taking Farmville for example, you don't have bugs, worms, critters to kill your crop. You don't have excessive heat or frost to kill your crop. You have a definitive timeline when your 100% yield occurs. You have 100% sales on all your items with no waste. This isn't really a business simulator more than it is something to do to pass time and share with friends.

The real cash comes in to play because some people are even more impatient and want the absolute best of everything, even if it doesn't really matter. Fortunately, my wife is of the opinion that she can wait for her FV coins to build up and not even worry about the FV dollars.

Re:If only we could harness this in RL (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551416)

You forget that real businesses require real work, and are a whole lot harder to progress in than a game that is engineered to let you slowly creep up the ladder of success no matter how inept you are.

I have not laughed that fucking hard in a long time. There is no ineptitude at the top? Nepotism? Favoritism?

None of us have had a superior so stupid, ignorant, and helpless in their responsibilities that it is a miracle every day the department is still around? Yet they STILL get promoted and handed more control and resources?

Nah....... The real world does require real work by those people at the top. They are there because they all earned it.

BWAHAHHAHHAHAHAHHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!

P.S - There is a name for your world where only the deserving and capable climb to the top. Star Trek.

Re:If only we could harness this in RL (2, Insightful)

Skidborg (1585365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551578)

GP's original point was trying to apply this to a small business startup attempt, not working your way through a gigantic corporation that is already massively successful.

Re:If only we could harness this in RL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31551998)

You're clearly bitter about something, get it sorted.

Re:If only we could harness this in RL (4, Interesting)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551524)

My wife and daughters play these stupid games. Superpokepets and Farm[town|ville] consume hours of their day.

My daughters, not so much, but my wife thinks that all computer oriented activities are game-play. She doesn't regard what I do as "work" because the only activities she participates in on a computer are games, therefore all computer activities are games. I'll admit that a few times a year I'll indulge in a game of Civilization, but I'm a bit more focused on my work because I actually enjoy it.

Occasionally I'll remind her that only a few hours of my work on a computer pays our cell phone bill while a few hours of her playing games costs in electricity usage. The concept of computers being tools for business still escapes her, so I'm in the doghouse most of the time for "playing" on the computer.

Thankfully, she's obeyed my mandate that no actual money be spent on these games.

Wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31551766)

I believed you until the end.

Your wife doesn't control the money?

Re:If only we could harness this in RL (1)

mmelson (441923) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551244)

It's not the risk or the legal burden. It's that people are lazy. It only takes a few minutes of relatively mindless clicking each day to be successful on a Facebook game. If a real business only took a half an hour a day, everyone would have one.

Re:If only we could harness this in RL (1, Interesting)

Bodhammer (559311) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551256)

I don't play these games. As far as starting a business, I would love to own my own business. I'm more concerned about the governments (local, state, federal) and the IRS than I am about my competition and legal concerns. The progressives are hell-bent at destroying and redistributing wealth, they are dangerous, clueless, and evil.

Re:If only we could harness this in RL (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551384)

the government and IRS is exactly what "legal burden" is.

But if the legal burders of the early 2000s were too much for you, you aren't ever starting that business.

Re:If only we could harness this in RL (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31551454)

I think you are the first one to try to attach your internal fear onto a large group of external people. Obviously, your fear is their fault.

Yawn...

Can someone wake me when these tea-party types take on some personal responsibility? Wait, nevermind, I dont want to sleep for the rest of my life...

Re:If only we could harness this in RL (2, Informative)

DogDude (805747) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551526)

As far as starting a business, I would love to own my own business. I'm more concerned about the governments (local, state, federal) and the IRS than I am about my competition and legal concerns.

You're a liar. Turn off the Fox news. There's very little paperwork involved with starting your own business.

Re:If only we could harness this in RL (1)

Skidborg (1585365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551604)

Depends on the type of business. Web design or computer related stuff is fairly light on it I'll admit, but anything requiring insurance or inventory tracking is enough to scare off anyone who isn't a dedicated lover of paper shovelling.

Re:If only we could harness this in RL (1)

uss_valiant (760602) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551824)

I think this is an indicator that a lot of people would like to own/operate a business, and have an entrepreneurial spirit, but are too bogged by the realities of risk and especially legal burden to carry out their entrepreneurial instinct in real life. Imagine how many jobs we could create if people felt safe enough to be able to play these games in the real world.

People are working on just that. For some inspiration, watch this irresistible TED talk: Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world [youtube.com] (20min).

Really. (5, Funny)

Skidborg (1585365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551138)

After Eve proved that people were willing to play spreadsheets with graphics, it was obvious that the next step was to remove most of the graphics.

Re:Really. (1)

game kid (805301) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551466)

Fortunately, people who still use Facebook can't even spell "spreadsheet", so we're safe for now.

If they achieve sentience and Microsoft Excel literacy, though, then pile the sandbags, man the machine guns, and prepare to hunt the zombies. Otherwise, they will spam their Twilight-themed sheets through email and we will be doomed.

--but seriously, now that I think of it, a Twilight-themed Excel file would nauseate me to no end.

Re:Really. (2, Insightful)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551868)

Actually, I think this trend was clear way back in Ultima Online days.

Wander by a "mountainside" and there would be dozens of players just standing there "mining" ore, which they would haul back and smelt to iron, which they would use it to make some crappy item, which they would sell to a shopkeeper for some and then wander off to the mines for another day of hard work...

MMORPGS. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31551180)

Last night I got drunk.

In my stupor, I decided to play a Korean MMORPG that consumed about 4 years of my life. I went through a cached version of the fansite forums. 300 posts by myself. Did I really type like that?

At any rate, I fired up the client and connected to a private server. Instantly, I felt my right wrist seizing up a bit... as if it was anticipating the pain from the click-fest (I broke several LMBs playing this game). I remembered how much this game sucked. The game is just a glorified treadmill. Getting to maxlevel (110) doesn't net you any special reward. It was really pointless.

What does this have to do with the current topic? The Social. The social aspect is the only reason I played for so long. It could have been a korean mmo game, it could have been a farm simulation, it could have been an online poker site, it could have been a tower defense game. It didn't matter. It was always about the social. Thats the only reason I played that stupid game for so long.

And that's why a lot of people on the social networking sites play those socially networked games. Not because they are economic simulators, but because everyone else plays them and it's a way to pass the time. Nothing too deep from my pov.

Re:MMORPGS. (1)

Yaa 101 (664725) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551418)

You are not that far off, most players only play to be able to talk about it the next day at work or school, it used to be television that fulfilled that role, increasingly it's online stuff.

So yes, it's about social.

Re:MMORPGS. (5, Insightful)

Tromad (1741656) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551432)

Yes but these "social" games don't really have any social aspect apart from spamming your friends for new items. My mom convinced me to try a popular facebook game, and the only social aspect was me having to spam everyone else that I either have extra crap or I want their extra crap. In general there is no interaction apart from "give me", and even that is based on preset buttons rather than conversation. I probably have more social interaction with a 1 minute conversation with the clerk at the convenience store than I would in hours of playing these shitty social media games. In your case it is different, as you were on an MMO, but these social casual games are much more limited in interaction.

Re:MMORPGS. (1)

anomic_event (518226) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551490)

Great point. Interacting with others is a huge aspect of the free to play city builder / trading game http://sabah.playnileonline.com/#bot [playnileonline.com] I have spent $50 on in the past 12 months. And money well spent imo.

Baffling (1)

Ghubi (1102775) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551188)

Wikipedia does not have an encyclopedia article for Accumulation.

achievement porn (5, Interesting)

merreborn (853723) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551190)

The people who play these games are, as a blogger recently put it, addicted to fake achievement [pixelpoppers.com] . They want to fill the bar [penny-arcade.com] over and over again, level up, and unlock the next item.

It's really not that baffling. People like winning. The actual value of the "win" is often unimportant.

Re:achievement porn (1)

jroysdon (201893) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551484)

Too true. I wonder what the ratio is of addicted flash-game players like this is to un/under-employed folks?

Re:achievement porn (1)

Sethumme (1313479) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551508)

Welcome to the Tamagotchi Generation. We pay for virtual entertainment, not real entertainment.

Re:achievement porn (1)

The_Duck271 (1494641) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551676)

What's the difference between "virtual" entertainment and "real" entertainment?

Re:achievement porn (2, Insightful)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551694)

Care to enlighten us as to the difference between real and virtual entertainment? It sounds like a distinction solely for the sake of looking down on entertainment forms you don't share in personally.

Re:achievement porn (2, Informative)

GuldKalle (1065310) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551576)

Thanks (1)

Ghubi (1102775) | more than 4 years ago | (#31552032)

Links like that are the reason I read Slashdot.

Re:achievement porn (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551598)

http://progresswars.com/ [progresswars.com]

Re:achievement porn (1)

CODiNE (27417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551938)

Yeah I used to spend days playing whatever new game I was into, until I realized that I was spending hours just to flip a few bits in a memory card somewhere. It wasn't even an important memory card, just the one in my cartridge. Pointless.

Content filtering :0 (1)

Miser (36591) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551194)

This is exactly why the first thing I do when setting up security at a client site the first two domains I block are facebook and myspace. SonicWALL Content Filtering Service FTW!

It's fun to watch the logs and see how many people continue to try to go there despite the fact that it is blocked.

Cheers,

Fred

Re:Content filtering :0 (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551300)

...Yeah, and wait for people to find obscure proxies that log information to get around these blocks and you have worse security problems....

Fact is, Facebook, Myspace, etc. are not security risks. On the other hand, obscurefacebookproxy.ru probably is, if an employee or student can get their work done while using Facebook, Myspace, etc. more power to them. If they can't they get fired/flunk out. It is that simple. Try to block the sites that people want and end up with more security flaws as they go to less reputable sites.

(PS. Sonic Wall is overpriced and sucks)

Re:Content filtering :0 (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551980)

>if an employee or student can get their work done while using Facebook, Myspace, etc. more power to them Sorry but you were hired to do work for a company and for socializing. Wanna socialize do it on your brakes or your own non paid time. If you can't put away your personal things for the time you are being paid at work then you need better discipline/work ethic or be more creative with your work time.

Re:Content filtering :0 (0, Troll)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551360)

You are one cruel, mean man. And depending on the ability of the workers it might even be the bigger security risk. Trust me on this one, filtering popular pages in a company filled with highly skilled network engineers who couldn't care less whether they get fired is ONLY a good idea if you're trying to figure out whether your firewall is actually secure. But I wouldn't do it in a production environment...

You'd better scan the internet for proxies (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551596)

he first two domains I block are facebook and myspace.

Blocking by domain is so like... 1999, it's very fail.

 

Re:You'd better scan the internet for proxies (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 4 years ago | (#31552002)

You assume WAAAAY too much about most people who go to Facebook or Myspace.

Heck, most of them are too stupid to quit the browser when their boss/co-worker/IT person walks in.

Re:Content filtering :0 (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551986)

I always hack the hosts file of 'problem' employees to point to the main company website.

But just like you, they never seem to stop trying to get there.

Not hard to figure out really... (2, Insightful)

CFBMoo1 (157453) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551210)

Not everyone has a good life or one they enjoy. Some people are bored and/or want something better. Virtual places and items offer an escape we may never have otherwise. When life's Skinner box doesn't give us enough pellets or pellets we like, we look elsewhere for pellets we can enjoy. Some people think outside the box and make a profit off our needs and the rest of us forever stay in the box.

That's interesting, coming from Dan "Lyin" Lyons (3, Insightful)

the saltydog (450856) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551214)

This is the same rent-a-rant tool* that shouted at the top of his lungs on what a great case The SCO Group had against IBM - and who consequently jumped off of the pro-SCO shill bandwagon so fast, he almost broke both ankles, when it became apparent that the whole thing was an extortion scam... it's interesting to me since The SCO Group doesn't really have real products anymore, and the bankruptcy trustee currently in charge has stated that the only thing he finds of value in the company is the litigation they're involved in.

Dan can't understand something that makes money, that Microsoft didn't invent - world points, laughs. Dan is worse than a has-been... he's a never-was.

*Not to be confused with another worthless tech "analyst", Rob "Rent-A-Rant" Enderle, who has never met a Microsoft check he didn't like.

Just like MMORPGs (5, Insightful)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551234)

So how, exactly, is this any different from spending money on WOW? Not everyone likes the same kind of games.

Just because the average Joe doesn't like Farmwille, WOW, curling or knitting that doesn't mean it's not worth the investment in time and/or money to someone else.

To each his own.

And who want to blog as a fake CEO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31551250)

Pot. Kettle. Black.

It mystifies me (2, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551310)

Even stranger, he says, is their willingness to spend real money to buy virtual products

If people put a fraction of the time they spend on fake farms into a real business, they'd be rich. So much effort goes into collecting fake gold and going on quests to kill monsters that are nothing but a collection of 1's and 0's. It just seems like such a waste. If we could harness a small amount of that effort and put it toward something productive, it would be astonishing what could be accomplished.

Re:It mystifies me (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551344)

Yeah, because we all know that it is that easy....

Look, even people who A) are qualified B) want to work C) will be good at the job. Still can't get hired. Until we get rid of the 2 parties plaguing the US congress and get a halfway decent president, it isn't going to be much better.

As for starting a business? Forget about it. Even -established- businesses have a hard time getting credit, let alone someone starting a business.

Plus, it is a lot easier to get out of bed, stumble over to the desktop and click buttons for an hour than have to shower, put on nice clothes, do your hair, etc and go to work.

Re:It mystifies me (5, Insightful)

Datamonstar (845886) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551886)

Starting a business is a great thing to do! However, unlike how the conservative, pro-consumerism people who propose starting a business as the simple solution to your each and every economic woe will tell you, it is a very difficult thing to do and you will likely spend a large amount of time and energy making it profitable in the first place. If you don't have money in the first place, then forget it. If you can't live for a while without your normal steady income, then forget it. Basically, unless you're really lucky and are able to get funding to start, or you come up with some brilliant money-making idea that requires $0 start-up you're in for a long ride till your first real profit.

In real life people have jobs because they either cannot or do not want to start their own business, so simply saying "if you would have invested x amount of time doing y then you'd" whatever is just making a big assumption without really considering what you're saying. Go ask a successful business manager how much more he could accomplish if he spent less time on the golf course (assuming he golfs). I'm sure he would not take it well.

What about the rest of the TUBES that take real $? (1)

sckirklan (1412015) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551328)

People have also been paying for mmo's and such for years just the same as it's a means of entertainment or perhaps avoidance of idle hands. You know what they say about idle hands...

Re:What about the rest of the TUBES that take real (1)

Escape From NY (1539983) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551406)

You know what they say about idle hands...

Idle hands get in the way of the devil's work?

sounds like a good way to do money laundering (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551336)

sounds like a good way to do money laundering just put it in to a game.

How fast will this just drop if the us had on line betting and poker that was not bared by us law?

Re:sounds like a good way to do money laundering (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551374)

I doubt it will drop fast. Why? Because a lot of people don't like gambling. When you buy -virtual item- you know you are getting -virtual item- that can do -insert description here-. When you gamble, you -might- get more money, chances are you will have 3 minutes of entertainment then the money goes away from you.

Id he also mystified (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551362)

that people spend $50 to buy a video game for their xbox?

Or spend $400 for a ticket to watch a UFC fight.

Or go to Vegas and spend money to play roulette.

He might (and I do) find the idea boring as all hell, but other people find it fun (maybe the activity itself, maybe the "beating" other people to something part, maybe the socialization that comes from a common activity, etc).

Stupidity (3, Interesting)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551402)

This is a shame that people have become so stupid as to purchase virtual pets and virtual things to get ahead in a role playing game. I have to say it, people need to get out more often. The fact that this has become a 1.6bn business is really, really sad. What ever happened to buying old cars and restoring them or going on bike rides or outdoor activites?

Are we STILL listening to Dan "Lyin" Lyons? (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551404)

Really, he's no better than "Pretenderlee" Enderlee or MoGTroll Maureen O'Gara. His opinion and $5 will buy you a $2 coffee (you take a minus $3 hit for being an obvious n00b even to the cashier).

We all have our different vices and addictions, (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551434)

the internet merely magnifies them.

Re:We all have our different vices and addictions, (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551924)

I think someone once wrote:

"The internet is like a microscope into the human psyche."

Where Did This Guy Grow Up? (1)

ChiRaven (800537) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551494)

Don't know where (or IF) he went to business school, but somewhere along the line in almost every program I've heard of there was a "pretend-business" game of some sort that students had to play for the term. The key to ours was to notice that your company could borrow long-term funds very cheaply, and loan them out at a somewhat higher rate of interest, and that this represented the best profit opportunity in the game, as interest rates were fixed. Most others I've seen have been a little more robust.

Pachinko (1)

mindbrane (1548037) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551496)

really i dunno but after running it thru my wetware a few times a few "thinks" came up... my first time in Tokyo i was introduced to Pachinko [wikipedia.org] and immediately began to wonder how such a people could have accomplished anything let alone what the Japanese have done, but after a few minutes playing i was strangely hooked and played for about 3 hours, but only played the one time. it reminded me of the kind of fun, mindless calibrating kids can do for hours, getting closer and closer to something meaningless in itself but profitable in tweaking a mind set. maybe it's something like that. the other thing that popped up was reading accounts of indentured servants holding mock feasts made up of the scraps their masters had left over. the servants invented titles and names for themselves and seriously attempted to reproduce the manners of their "betters". it may be the people who do this stuff are wage slaves shedding their pent up aggression and frustration. while i'm just throwing stuff out there there's the point, click, download and install crowd who can't do much on the internet and just do basic stuff that fills the time. or they all could just be like me now doing anything rather than the brain breaking hard work i'm taking a break from, like you reading this :)

Stupid is as stupid does (3, Insightful)

future assassin (639396) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551532)

I don't think its surprising to find out that someone stupid enough to spend half of their day on Facebook giving out personal info for enjoyment would be stupid enough to spend money on their Facebook habbit.

The reason (1)

PietjeJantje (917584) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551550)

> 'The data might be "perfect" and "complete,"' says Lyons, 'but the world from which it's gathered is anything but that.'"

Exactly, he gave the reason himself. Escapism. Not one I care for at all now, but when I was longer I played a lot of MUD. Does he hate such books and movies too?

Less than Pointless (1)

pubwvj (1045960) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551652)

If the games taught real skills I could see that as being useful.
If the activity brought in some real benefit I could see that as being useful.
Unfortunately these games are wasting three to five hours a day of a lot of people's lives.
The farmville, farmtown and the like are particularly weird.
In a fraction of the amount of time that people are wasting on those fake farming games they could raise enough food for their family for a year.
Very strange.
What it shows to me is that people have too much money and too much time on their hands.
Life isn't hard enough.

About the title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31551726)

"Baffled By the Obsession With Pretend-Business Games"

I thought they're talking about the day-trading.

Well (3, Insightful)

stonecypher (118140) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551802)

It's a Skinner Box. It doesn't just apply to humans; it applies to most animals. It's the same effect that makes rats press levers for food, and that underlies Pavlov's Dog and standard drug dealer techniques.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skinner_Box [wikipedia.org]

Farmville short-circuits the reward relationship in a number of psychologically sophisticated ways. It's essentially a hoarding generator with addiction back-off.

Open source (1)

Space Guerilla (1766806) | more than 4 years ago | (#31551906)

I once thought that it would be cool to have a virtual world where we could all build things and destroy things. Like a virtual "playground" or "sandbox". It seems like corporation's idea of a virtual playground is one where you have to pay significant sums for your virtual toys. I think that is wrong. I dream of a day when you can have an open source virtual playground, where the users design the worlds, items and their own appearances. Where cool costumes and items are free and shared. I'm not saying that the experience would be about appearances though. I think an ideal virtual world would combine the ability to jot down ideas and store them in a manner that we are used to. Or to run physics simulations in a virtual setting that looks and behaves like our own world. Add to that the ability to fly, make objects that are not effected by gravity, and physical (artistic) impossibilities. If you have seen the movie the Matrix I'm sure you understand the beauty of having virtual worlds. In a virtual world your perceived success is much greater than in real life. Also resources in a virtual world should be very cheap. Everything is software. We have the technology to make a virtual world look graphically realistic. The only thing left to do is make an input device that allows movements of any finger, arm, leg, back, neck...etc. Virtual worlds will become the next great idea space (a place where people can make their ideas and dreams real). In the future it would make more sense to teach an Artificial Intelligence inside a virtual world than in the real world (as an AI in the real world could cause no real harm if it run amok in a virtual world).

spam me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31551954)

ilkhan_612@yahoo.com

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