Dateline: Shanghai, Hunan, China. November 24th.
In a country of 1,306,313,812 people that has just recently started down a breakneck pace to become the world’s largest economy not based on the McNugget, a lot of strange things can happen, especially when you have a population that rivals Korea in it’s devotion to living in the psuedo-reality of online games.
The Legend Of Mir II is one of these games, and in China it’s gone over like gangbusters. With that rampant popularity comes the yin of online cheating, character prostitution and game exploitation, and the countering yang of developers who seek to curb such acts via bans, suspensions, and possible genital kicks. Of course, it’s not unheard of that they might finger (and by “finger”, I mean “kick in the genitals”) the wrong guy every once in a while.
Hit the jump for more details and unnecessary hyperbole.
Did I mention that the guy actually DID cheat? Yeah, he deserved a kick to the pot stickers.
The People’s Court of Hengyang County made a monumental decision on November 15th that could very well influence the actions of millions of gamers across the world and those of game developers in the ever-escalating arms race of cheaters and GMs. In this particular case, Shanda, the developer behind The Legend of Mir II, suspended the account of one of it’s subscribers whom they had reason to believe had hacked the account of another player and used it to exploit the game’s rule system. While it seems they were in the right, the unnamed player rose up from the ashes of his ignominious embarassment (much like a phoenix) and stabbed Shanda in the eye with a lawsuit claiming they deprived him of his rightfully earned virtual goods and damaged his e-reputation.
He sued them in order to have his account reinstated and for RMB 45,000 (roughly $5,625USD) in restitution for the items he lost. The court, after some examination of virtual-item-to-real-world-cash exhange rates, awarded him the lesser sum of RMB 30,000 (roughly $3,750USD). This amount, while lower than his original goal, is still more money than you have in your sock, and enough to buy the servitude of 3 small children in most Chinese provinces.
It might seem that this is a world away, but even in the darkest heart of China the court system is based on peer will. Apparently people in China do believe that virtual goods have some intrinsic real world monetary value to the point where the loss of such goods is tantamount to being stolen from. It can be assumed that it’s only a matter of time before a court in the United States of America follows a similar path and delivers a ruling against one of our local MMO developers.