Julian Dibbell’s Professional Gameplaying Conclusion

Julian Dibbell’s goal simply stated was that “On April 15, 2004, I will truthfully report to the IRS that my primary source of income is the sale of imaginary goods — and that I earn more from it, on a monthly basis, than I have ever earned as a professional writer.” April 15th has come and gone and Julian disappointedly admits, “the numbers are in. And as predicted, they are short of the mark. Six hundred and eighty-three dollars short, to be precise.”

I’ve been following Julian Dibbell’s Playmoney blog for the last 6 months after I found a link to his site about PayPal’s policy on the nature of the intangible. Since then I’ve kept up with his current posts and read a little out of the archives.

Some of my favorite posts are:

The one about Michael Slavin and how he played a counter-strike nonstop for nine days.

The one about a professional Ultima Online cheater and the clarifying post that followed.

The time Julian almost got scammed out of all the money in his PayPal account (even if it was only $121).

I really liked his post about the ethics of selling stolen virtual goods. In the game, learning to be a good thief is a skill. So the question is, is buying items from someone using that skill and then selling the “stolen merchandise” for cold hard US cash morally wrong?

The break-down of how much money he’s actually making per hour. Would you believe it’s $85 / hour?

All in all, Julian not only entertains but informs. Oh and when he’s not playing video games and blogging about it, he’s also a pretty damn good writer. His “Rape in Cyberspace” article was required reading in my Seminar for New Media class.

Update: Wired Magazine has a few words to say about Julian’s endeavour, and here are his own concluding thoughts.

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