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“world of warcraft is the new golf”

From Untangling The Web, by Aleks Krotoski, pg 53-54:

Joi Ito is the head of the Media Lab, a powerful thinktank based at MIT, one of the most respected academic institutions in the US. The Media Lab has been one of the most influential research laboratories for developing cutting edge technology. It’s also been in the pole position for describing human behaviour online. Before he took the helm at MIT, Ito was an eagle-eyed investor behind some of the world’s biggest start-ups, including Twitter, photo-sharing site Flickr and music recommendation site Last.fm, and he belongs to a virtual community that’s just as powerful as the Fortune 500 companies, or the Bildeberg Group. Ito and his virtual buddies are in charge of the modern world. 

Less than a decade ago, he began playing World of Warcraft. Now, WOW may not be many people’s idea of the kind of environment where high-flying CEOs and other business and government movers and shakers get together and broker deals, but this fantasy world –populated by flying monsters, spells and elves –is an important place in the networking landscape for people like Ito and his contemporaries. 

In his own words, “World of Warcraft is the new golf.” Ito and others –“at least 10 have the letter ‘C’ in their job titles,” reported technology site cNet in 2006 –formed a guild, or a group who spent their downtime working together (in virtual costume) to beat dungeon masters and other bad guys. They gave themselves a suitably conspiracy theory-inspired name, “WeKnow”, and spent their downtime not on the fairway, but in the virtual country Azeroth collecting gold coins, drinking virtual mead, defeating enemies and discussing the relative merits of one virtual sword over another.

Categories: Archive Corporate Culture, Elites and Their Self-Understandings

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