Virtual worlds and massively multiplayer online games have truly evolved over the past several years. It wasn't so long ago that incorporating virtual economies into games was a new idea. Nor was it so long ago that we were overwhelmed at the depth that was possible in massively multiplayer online games -- and the culture that began to develop in and around these virtual spaces. But that was then, and those days of surprise and amusement at the potential in the virtual are becoming a memory. Many of us now take our games and virtual spaces, and all their depth and meaning, for granted. At least, Edward Castronova of the Terra Nova blog thinks so, when he writes, "The gee-whiz era for virtual worlds has passed, and this changes what happens at TN."
Terra Nova has been a hub for intelligent discourse on all things virtual since September of 2003. In the years that followed, Terra Nova's four founders were joined by numerous academics and authors who've explored the many facets of virtual worlds, and their interplay with our real lives. A recent post by one of the Terra Nova founders, Dan Hunter, explains how it all began... with a burst of wide-eyed enthusiasm for this previously uncharted territory. In the years since the blog began, maybe some of us have lost a bit of that initial fascination with the concept of virtual worlds, which Castronova now addresses when he states that Terra Nova will be narrowing its focus to new games and research.