Why It Can Feel Good To Be Bad In The Metaverse

Every realm has its potential usurpers, but most people just try to play by the rules and commit as few malicious acts as possible. That said, every identity contains multiple characters, our moral compasses aren’t set in stone, and after trying so hard to be good IRL, it can be fun to be bad for a while in your favorite internet cesspool.

After all, the Internet has long served as a liberating outlet for people to do what they want and be who they want. Early Internet chat rooms were bastions of individual expression (and chaos). With the rise of immersive games and metaversal experiences, people now have even more ways to explore all aspects of their personality and interests, including their dark side.

Steven Na is the executive producer of Human park. a consumer-focused metaverse entertainment company. This article is part of CoinDesk”sin week.”

Of course, aberrant behavior is not relegated to the metaverse. The ordinary internet is awash in a sea of ​​sexual harassment, hate speech and illegal content, and people can be unnervingly creative when it comes to leveraging technology to abuse themselves. each other.

This is particularly alarming in the metaverse, given that some people report feeling phantom sensations when their metaversal self is approached. It’s no surprise, then, that bodily harassment directed at avatars online is often more traumatic than verbal harassment on traditional social media platforms.

Read more: What happens if you are sexually assaulted in the Metaverse? / Opinion

It should be remembered that not all online environments operate within the same moral framework and the terms “good” and “bad” are very contextual. As the concept of “metaverse” continues to evolve beyond VR games, and digital communities begin to form, we need to be aware of the difference between real Web3 games and “gamified” social forums. , and we agree on the types of behavior each must allow.

Moral Ambiguity in the Media

When it comes to online gaming, I say the meaner the better. When it comes to mainstream entertainment, we’re in the age of the anti-hero, where the bad guys on screen are often as close as the good guys.

Likewise, video games increasingly allow players to explore their own moral ambiguity. Video games enable new forms of self-exploration and catharsis since they offer players a range of choices instead of just passive entertainment.

And in these fictional worlds, a lot of people choose to do some pretty crazy stuff. After all, the internet is a rebalancing of indulgence and consequences, and in-game indulgences almost always outweigh their consequences.

Of course, not everyone enjoys being the bad guy in a video game, and that’s completely natural and acceptable. But an academic study on “moral choice in video games” argues that morally ambiguous gameplay opens doors to a “cognitive abandonment of moral concerns, which allows gamers to enjoy games even when they are supposed or required to.” perform morally reprehensible acts”.

When it comes to gaming, you don’t have to be an actual villain to want to occasionally lay siege to a fictional kingdom. However, just because gaming metaverses aren’t meant to reflect real life doesn’t mean there aren’t some interesting comparisons.

Real life

Leo Tolstoy said that “all happy families are alike, but every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”. This could apply just as well to our daily “happy” and “unhappy” interactions in the sense that it’s easier to think of a million ways to ruin someone’s day than it is to find multiple ways to brighten up. This is only reinforced by the metaverse.

Dressing up as a bad guy in an online game can often give players more options and freedom, as being the “good guy” often leads to narrower goals and playstyles.

Of course, whether or not a player has more options as a hero or villain depends on how a game is set up. This is especially true in an open world environment where there is infinitely more action. and potential outcomes for players than the original game developers intended.

This exploratory approach to gameplay arguably immerses players in a wider range of perspectives and requires a higher degree of moral sensitivity – even as players know their choices are ultimately inconsequential in real life. We know what happens in the game is not real. It helps us disengage from the heavier choices we often face and allows us to explore life from a different perspective, seemingly without consequences. And so, deviant behavior in the game often takes on an air of gratuitous self-indulgence.

But there are other metaverses designed to more closely reflect real life. While many of them involve certain gamified experiences, it’s fair to say that these environments are perceived to be more “real” and should be dictated by something more in line with traditional morality, as opposed to what is allowed in a purely escapist metaverse.

Design decisions

As people’s identities and lived experiences shift online and begin to feel more ‘real’, the consequences of our decisions online will grow heavier. And with companies like OWO and H2L creating sensory devices that allow users to feel everything from a warm embrace to a gunshot wound in the metaverse, there’s a chance that even in-game actions will become more consequential with time.

Some people have argued that an ethical metaverse will require the help of trustworthy AI moderators, but blockchain networks are literally designed to run on durable incentive systems tailored to specific use cases. . Other technologies will no doubt play a role in complementing and augmenting on-chain projects, but ultimately it is up to us to design the overall incentive systems that prioritize fun and safety.

Read more: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the Metaverse (But Were Afraid to Ask)

Blockchain-based platforms have the advantage of allowing users to customize their digital avatars and other assets through active play, and retain true ownership of their evolving online identity in a very real sense. . This means that whether you’re an online hero, villain, or something in between, as far as the metaverse is concerned, you’ll be a unique, one-of-a-kind entity that continues to exist even after you turn off your device – like in the real world.

So, to all of you citizens of the Metaverse, I encourage you to be careful if you’re playing an escape game or real-life expansion – and to enjoy being sneaky without affecting others in any truly harmful way. After all, calling someone a swear word can be far more damaging and consequential in one virtual environment than chopping off someone’s head in another.

Everything in moderation, including moderation; so act in good faith and have fun, sinners.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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