In the last decades, we have seen the content business have to adapt to a frightening new reality: The cost to create a minute of content has risen exponentially, but the fair market value of a minute of content has plummeted. In our brave new world of digital assets and user contributions, we tend to forget that this will be hitting not just media companies in the pocketbook, but also all those Web users who are merrily uploading their creations to platforms that by their very nature are fundamentally defenseless against copying.
While I believe this is generally true, there are notable exceptions for more open systems. And all systems trend towards open. The gaming industry is bifurcating into content creation and game engines. A split driven both by the cost of content creation, but mostly the complexity and cost of creating the game engines that power it. SecondLife is one of the most open virtual worlds, but the tools for creating content within it are still limited. Especially when compared with the diversity and accessibility of our standards-based web.
In some areas of the media sector, the cost for creating content is plummeting. It may still be expensive for a single user to create quality content, be it amateur or professional. But it is getting cheaper:
- create crappy content
- sift through said crap to discover gems
How? Well, its made of people, silly.
In more closed virtual worlds, such as World of Warcraft, content creation is largely the burden of the toolmaker. And copying is expressly forbidden. So what happens? The arbitrage condition is so strong that people are applied to the problem. Chinese gold farmers are human CopyBots.