Your Fake Stuff Is Covered
A Chinese insurance firm now offers coverage for lost, stolen, or otherwise destroyed virtual goods.
If your house has ever been ransacked by a horde of goblins, you know how crucial it is to have an insurance policy in place to cover the damages. The same goes for the virtual world, where the threat of goblin attack is easily twice that of our meatspace reality.
Enter: Sunshine Insurance Group Corporation. The Chinese insurance firm has teamed with online game operator Gamebar to offer the world's first virtual property insurance.
Sounds crazy, right? Yet according to China Daily, the venture has sound capitalist motivations:
The two companies agreed to create the virtual property insurance amid an increasing number of disputes between online game operators and their customers, often related to the loss or theft of players' "virtual property" such as "land" and "currency."
A Sunshine Insurance spokesman said the insurance will help to reduce operating risks for online gaming companies, as the companies which purchase the insurance will be covered to compensate customers in the event of lost or stolen property.
The spokesman said that the insurance agreement is also a landmark achievement for the insurance industry, as it marks the industry's first foray into the online gaming sector.
Seems like a win-win situation for everyone involved right? Players get compensation if their +3 Sword of Gastrointestinal Distress disappears, and online gaming firms save tons of cash that would otherwise be earmarked for whichever community liaison gets tasked with sorting out virtual property disputes.
Of course, this concept does raise several crucial questions. First, how does the insurance firm determine what it will and will not cover? Are weapons degraded by use in normal gameplay covered? What about items removed by the gaming operators due to hacking or other illicit acquisition methods?
Second, how do you create premiums for things that don't actually exist? How much is a faux horse worth? Am I going to have to drop $300 a month to protect my fictional home from fictional wizards?
And of course, there's the final, most important question: At what point did we all start living inside a William Gibson novel?
Source: China Daily
It's insane that people put so much stock into the little bits of data, but I have to say that this is brilliant on their part.
Take advantage of people's insecurity and paranoia about being hacked. Devilishly clever, yet sad that it'll probably work.
"A Sunshine Insurance spokesman said the insurance will help to reduce operating risks for online gaming companies, as the companies which purchase the insurance will be covered to compensate customers in the event of lost or stolen property."
Blizzard just cranks out another of whatever item was lost to compensate with a button press.
Takes them 1 minute and 0 dollars of materials to do so.
They've been doing this in WoW literally every minute of every day...
Besides, here theft of virtual goods is now punishable by the real law!
In short, quite ludicrous!
Wow. Online economies are growing so complicated that they now have insurance. Didn't see this one coming.
It'd be interesting to see where the line is drawn. Would it just apply to stuff players buy with real world money or the more 'valuable' of a games items?
oddly enough i'm not surprised. especially since it's in china.
however the sunshine insurance corporation group does sound a bit sketchy....it's a little bit too much of a happy name.
[Sarcasm]Seems like a protection racket to me. Would hate for your WoW account to be hacked, we could reimburse you if anything goes wrong. BTW, would you like to buy some gold?
(Obviously implying that the red menace is out to get us. And that everyone in China is working together to take downt he rest of the world, or atleast the cyberworld.)[/sarcasm]
I find this to be hilarious. It's a good move on the company's part. I have a feeling they'll get a bit of business, sadly. xD
Sheldon should invest in some of this so he doesn't have to call the police, military, and FBI when he gets hacked.
This is as avant-garde as it gets. Props to China. And I will laugh heartily, if it turns out this 'insurance deal' turns out to be indeed a protection racket or just a plain old scam.
I hope they release stats on what people are paying them to "protect" sometime soon. Would likely be hilarious.
I think the Chinese have officially won capitalism