Edward Castronova, an associate professor at Indiana University and the guy behind a Shakespeare-themed MMO, published a new book last month entitled Exodus to the Virtual World: How Online Fun Is Changing Reality. He spoke to BBC News to talk about his new book and the contents within:
He said while some people will be colonists - "the virtual frontier opens up and off they go and disappear" - others will just use virtual worlds to get together with distant family and friends.
But he stressed there will be a group of people that spends all their lives there, and that the big question is the size of this group.
"We forget how many people there are, and we have to ask ourselves, how exciting is the game of life for most people out there?" he said.
He also stresses the positive aspects of MMOs and their ilk, but I have to wonder what's so revolutionary about people using online worlds as a means of escape. There have always been people looking for a way out of the day-to-day realities of living, and the modern "phenomenon" seems to be more an issue of people having a really convenient and readily available method for escape. I'm curious how he fleshes out his argument in the book, and I'll probably pick it up next time I have to put in a massive order for books.