The Weekly Raid: Let's Talk Ready Player One
The highly anticipated movie adaptation of Ready Player One hit theaters this week and while its undeniably aimed at children, it does offer the astute MMO player some food for thought.
Setting aside the unbelievable timeline of the technology (life-like VR by 2045), the primary VR platform of Ready Player One, The OASIS, seems to be a single centralized service run by one corporation. Not only is the VR platform highly centralized, the whole universe is a single persistent service with shared progression, currency, and so on.
More remarkably still, the OASIS seems to be an open PvP, full loot, 'hardcore' playground where all character progress is erased upon death. Obscenely powerful items are routinely offered for sale for in-game credits, but with how intertwined The OASIS seems to be with the real world, the line between real-world dollars and in-game credits is at best rather blurred.
The hopeful message at the end of the film, once the evil corporation was defeated and control over the OASIS fell to a group of kids, was that the real world can't be replaced. The new ruling committee, calling themselves 'The High 5', decide to shut the servers down every Tuesday and Thursday in order to force people to get out the house once in a while. This move is similar in nature to actions taken by the Chinese and Korean governments to restrict playtime, especially for children. This seems draconian considering how intertwined the OASIS has become to the real-world economy in Ready Player One. Corporate meetings and other business dealings are shown to be conducted within the OASIS and closing the servers 2 days of the week will likely impose a heavy cost on business.
Perhaps the takeaway from the movie is that creators can't help but play god to their creations, even if they have no desire to rule. I'd like to see an unofficial sequel where other groups of well meaning folks rebel against the disorganized rule of the High 5 teenagers.
Share your thoughts of the movie below!