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Some Definitions

Virtual worlds are implemented by a computer (or network of computers) that simulates an environment. Some—but not all—the entities in this environment act under the direct control of individual people. Because several such people can affect the same environment simultaneously, the world is said to be shared or multi-user. The environment continues to exist and develop internally (at least to some degree) even when there are no people interacting with it; this means it is persistent.

Although virtual worlds now have many applications beyond that of being mere entertainment products, they began as computer games; furthermore—perhaps because of the large sums of money involved in their creation and the guaranteed huge monthly incomes they can generate—computer games remain at the cutting edge of virtual world development.


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