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  ‘Financial Post’ Bungles Virtual Worlds  
Posted 2006-10-14 by Tony Walsh
Canada's Financial Post took a tumble into virtual worlds this weekend. Writer Jacqueline Thorpe inexpertly covers goofy Canadian web-based startup Weblo, which runs a dubious, web-based mirror-world where users can pay real cash to "own" copies of real people, places and things (destined to be sued into the ground, I'm sure); she mentions World of Warcraft, a massively popular online computer game; she delves into the virtual world of Second Life.

I personally don't consider Weblo much of a virtual world, as it more closely resembles a game of Monopoly--Thorpe even writes that "Weblo hasn't seemed to quite figure out what it is yet," making me wonder why she'd bother mentioning it at all (desperate for a Canadian angle, most likely). Thorpe seems confused about the virtual worlds she covers, at times suggesting they are all web-based (they aren't), and at other times suggesting they are all games (they aren't). Canadian media commentator Jim Carroll supplies some generic soundbites that don't add any substantial information to Thorpe's story (he says people buy virtual goods because they are "in their mid-30s and they're into this stuff.") On the one hand, it's great the Financial Post is covering virtual worlds, but on the other, I think this article could be a lot clearer and more informative--its contains numerous technical inaccuracies, which is a shame for a mainstream media piece.

The only decent take-away from the article is in this cautionary note: "No doubt this second-generation land rush on the Web could fall prey to the same hype that created darlings and then deadbeats during the 1990s tech boom and bust. The field could get crowded and games fall in and out of favour." The sentiment is accurate, even if the terminology isn't.
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