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Virtual Worlds & MMOs – Better for the Environment; Easier on the Wallet

Two of the biggest goals for people over the past couple years involve saving money and saving the planet. Both are obviously worthy goals, and fairly complex issues. But when it comes to entertainment, choosing Massively Multi-Player Online games (MMO) and virtual worlds over traditional video games can actually accomplish both.

Consider the sheer amount of stuff used to produce video games. There are the consoles (plastic, circuitry, wires, etc.), as well as the games themselves, and their packaging (plastic, metal, more plastic). All of which end up in landfills after just a few years of use. Now think about MMOs and Virtual Worlds. No packaging, no DVD, no console. Nothing that can get broken or lost and has to be replaced. True, one needs a computer, or at least access to a computer. But most of us have a computer that we use for many other tasks.

Now on to money. A traditional video game console costs upwards of $200. Video games themselves cost anywhere from $25-$60 a pop, on average. When someone grow tired of a game, they might get a few bucks back by selling it at a yard sale or on EBay, but chances are, it won’t fetch much, if anything. Think especially of kids – $45 per game, and they may grow bored of it in just a month or two. In addition, once the game has been conquered, when all the levels have been completed, that’s about it. Sure, you can play it again, but it’s just not quite the same. Virtual worlds and MMOs, on the other hand, change constantly; they expand and morph over time. Virtual worlds also tend to have more economical and flexible pricing – a whole year of many MMOs and virtual worlds costs about the same as one video game. Not sure if you’ll like it or not, or whether your child is likely to stick with it? One-month and/or six-month membership options – about the price of lunch at a fast food restaurant – are generally available.

The intangibility of virtual worlds and MMOs seems to make some people a little uneasy, as if they should not spend money on something that cannot be physically held. And yet that is precisely what makes them both environmentally responsible and a great value.

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