Gone are the innocent days when the worst you could expect from playing computer games was sore thumbs and strained eyes. In the new virtual spaces of online games, real economies have developed, and with them real crime.
It seems online games are becoming very serious indeed. Death due to computer games is becoming not uncommon.
Items won in online games are now being exchanged for real money on sites such as e-bay. When players of popular online game Everquest 2 found a bug that allowed them to replicate items it caused a crash in the virtual market:
A man has recently been arrested in Japan for virtual muggings. He created computer AI players that would mug real players in the game world, steal their virtual items and then sell them for real money. Rumours suggest that there may be sweat shops operating in China and Indonesia trying to gain valuable virtual items in games by whatever means for monetary gain: