An idea didn’t crystallize for me until I read this article on Habbo Hotel that states a lot of Habbo Hotel users spend their time simulating real life activities; that the pre-mature citizens of Habbo Hotel are spending real money creating simulacra of the grown up experiences they expect to have. I saw (and participated in) this same behavior in social MUDs, so it seems natural to me, though I’m surprised the lengths to which Habbos have apparently taken it.
There must be the same impulse in SL, which ends up a source of tension: there are the people who see SL as an interesting software environment, and the people who are playticipating, each enabling the other by providing tools and a market respectively. To the extent these groups are separate and don’t have the other’s interests in mind, their relations are tense.
I’m sure this is not news, but I hadn’t thought of it in quite those terms.