Gentrification Nearly Ruined Final Fantasy's Housing Market
Gaming gives us the ability to escape into a fantasy life where we can chase cactuars, tear the valuable parts from dead cactuars, and ... experience the social unrest resulting from a lack of affordable housing in those cactuars' neighborhoods? That last one seems out of place for a video game problem, but that's recently been a real issue facing players in Final Fantasy XIV.
Square Enix"This is a beautiful two-story, detached property with great transport links, and is only rarely vaporized by Bahamut ZERO lasers."
The game's housing system only has a limited number of building plots per server, and they're given out on a first-come, first-serve basis. Unsurprisingly, the players with a disturbing amount of room in their lives for Final Fantasy XIV have been buying these plots for themselves and then constructing lavish mansions and holiday homes. The disenfranchised masses which can't spend as many hours killing demon walls and magic pots are left with nothing. Well, nothing except for a land of wonder in which ancient beasts fall to their sorcery. But no pretend-home!
The frustration came to a head when two players, called Altima and Igeyorhm, bought 28 homes between them. The homeless players argued that access to virtual housing should be equal, as they all paid the same real-life fee to play. They demanded that more houses be made available, or that maybe a limit should be placed on the number of houses a single player could own. The two landowners argued back that they worked hard to get their houses, and that the other players should work harder to get their own. They contended that the homeless were nothing but entitled Millennials who had never worked a day in their li- wait, this sounds really familiar.
Square Enix"Welcome to one of our 28 homes. We’re Altima and Igeyorhm, but in real life, we're Unemployed Frank and Domino's Preferred Customer #00032-872."
The game's developer, Square Enix, soon responded to the controversy by adding 720 more homes ... which were all immediately purchased. To be fair, the game's creative director seemed to realize there was a problem, and a recent housing update with a new set of rules and restrictions went pretty well. Even in a fake world with benevolent, hard-working gods, affordable housing is a troublesome subject.
And Final Fantasy isn't the only MMO with a dramatic real estate market. The last part of this sentence is going to sound made up, but in 2011, a company called SEE Virtual Worlds purchased real estate in the game Entropia Universe for $6 million. As in, six million real dollars. For make-believe land in a video game no one has heard of.
MindArkSix. Million. Dollars.