Living in Multiple Spaces: Extending our socio-economic environment through virtual worlds

Abstract: The rapid development of Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) is creating new virtual worlds that significantly extend our socio-economic environment. Increasingly, organisations and individuals have to live in multiple spaces incorporating the physical, the electronic and the virtual spaces, which are creating numerous new business and social opportunities and challenges. Today, MMORPGs “both virtual social worlds and online fantasy games - have evolved far beyond mere online computer games. From a business perspective, the new environment challenges existing management theories, creating new opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs and calling for the development of new management theories and new research methods. From a social perspective, the virtual world represents the frontier of social computing with profound implications for policy and our society at large. This paper will explore the concept of multiple-spaces, examine the interplays and connections among the different spaces, and discuss their business and social implications. New themes for future research will also be highlighted.