Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Print publication year: 2013
  • Online publication date: July 2013

10 - Crime in virtual worlds


Case studies

Adam has been playing an online role-playing game for a number of months. He has been the subject of a number of bullying incidents where he has felt intimidated and targeted by other players. Adam is unsure if these are people he knows in the offline world or if they are strangers. He has been feeling depressed and isolated as a result of these incidents but is unsure what to do about it. Will anyone he tells about this take his concerns seriously or will they just tell him to stop playing ‘computer games’?

Kate has spent several months playing the latest fantasy game online, progressing through the levels and building up her inventory. One day she logs in, to discover that her account has been hacked, and all her achievements have vanished. Wandering through the virtual world, she identifies the likely offender, who has suddenly accumulated vast new resources, probably by spending the in-world currency that Kate had saved. Kate wonders what she can do about the theft, and if she will ever get her inventory back.