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Heather Kelly: "The closing of an online virtual game may sound trivial to anyone who has never used or visited one, but to the people who spent a chunk of their formative years forging relationships inside their virtual walls, the loss can be huge."
"In a large online survey of players from games such as "World of Warcraft," Yee found 24% of players had confided personal issues or secrets to online friends that they had not told their real life friends. The online communities can feel just as real as their in-person worlds -- 41% said the friends they'd made online were comparable or better friends than the ones they had in real life."
Another ethical issue here: If you provide an alternate world in which someone can build their identity, make friends they otherwise wouldn't in the real world and they've spent money on virtual items and then take it all away because the world collapses... What's the ethical actions a company should take to ensure the health and well-being of those people? I mean surely there must be some liability?