Not So Weird

Jennifer Cronk, of Computer Teachers, Teach Thy Self!,  was a bit bummed out the other day when I posted my podcast interview of my son while he was playing World of Warcraft.  She’d been planning to record a similar interview with some of her New York students in much the same fashion.  Sorry!

She went on to say, in Teen Gaming — for Profit:

You see one of my student has used WOW to make about $5,000. He is in 9th grade! The way he has done it was to spend several weeks developing certain characters and getting them desirable items to use (weapons, spells, armor). Once he has taken the character to a certain point he sells it on ebay.
This is the first time I’ve thought to actually look.  Here is a World of Warcraft account, up for bid on eBay.  The account provides three level 60 crusade-ready characters.  Level 60 is evidently the cat’s meow.  At least shipping is FREE.

I shared this story with the audience in my video games session yesterday, and as I told it, I thought to myself, and then commented, “This is just too weird!”  Heads nodded in unison.  And it does seem really weird, the idea of an economic community that exists virtually — and one that seems not to discriminate by age, education, credential, or in any other way.

However, this morning (when I should be sleeping), I got to thinking about the first slide in that presentation, where I distinguish between the time of my grand father, where most people’s focus was on agriculture, and my father and my time, when focus was on material goods, getting stuff, and my children’s time, where they focus more on the experiential.  They spend no time tending crops, less time playing with stuff, and more time playing with experiences. 

Should it seem so weird that they can build and sell experiences? 

Has it happened before?

A hundred years ago, did the idea of performing, recording, and selling music on a phono album seem just as weird?

Or go back a few more centuries.  Did it seem just as weird to take a story, set type and print that story, and then sell the story as a book?

Are we lucky to be living in a time that is characterized by the really weird?  Or are we unlucky.  What do you think?

Author: David Warlick

David Warlick has been an educator for the past 40+ years. He continues to do some writing, but is mostly seeking his next intersect between play, passion and purpose, dabbling in photography, drone videography and music production.