Is City’s Plan to Build Virtual World a Waste of Tax Dollars ???

Last week GamePolitics broke the news that Decatur, Georgia was gathering information in the hope of building an avatar-based, virtual world (think Second Life / PlayStation Home) interface for its citizens.

Not surprisingly, there are those who see such a project as a waste of tax dollars.

Conservative blog Say Anything writes:

To help spur economic growth in their community the city leaders in Decatur, Georgia area creating an online virtual version of their city on Second Life.

Because I’m sure that’s just what those in Decatur who are struggling with economic downturn want.  Their tax dollars spent on a video game. I’ve born witness to some pretty sillly moments in economic development history, but this one takes the cake.

The whole idea of keeping taxes high so that politicians can spend the revenue on “developing” the economy is bogus to begin with, but spending those tax dollars on a video game takes a special kind of stupid."

Via: inDecatur

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  1. 0
    Austin_Lewis says:

    I smell a few who have an irrational disdain for it. Sure, they often don’t have a great grasp of new techonology, but its hard to see this plan as anything BUT a waste of tax dollars.  Businesses won’t be interested, advertisers won’t be interested, and there’s a good chance residents won’t be interested either.

  2. 0
    halfcuban says:

    I don’t think theres anything wrong with government representing itself online to its citizens if its determined that enough of them are on Second Life to make it viable. But I don’t see where it would be useful in attracting business development, especially since many corporations attempts at online advertising and the like in Second Life have not been borne out.

    In general I’m not a big fan of economic development corporations, and how local towns tend to wield them. More often than not they are used to give ridiculous tax breaks and property subsidies to large corporations, ostensibly to bring in jobs, but often at the expense of smaller locally owned businesses. Many "urban redevelopment" projects push out mom and pop stores for high end chain stores or botiques selling luxury goods. Smaller firms in an area, which are often homegrown, do not receive the large tax breaks larger firms, often in the same industry, receive for often only temporarily reloacting for the length of time the company is given a tax break.

  3. 0
    ibogost says:

    As a game developer, critic, and as happenstance would have it, resident of Decatur GA, who received and read the RFI, I’m also unsure about whether or not this is a good idea. But it’s worth noting that the city isn’t sure of it either. An RFI is just that, a Request For Information, and if you read the document Dennis posted you’ll see that the city’s primary purpose is to determine how much such an enterprise would cost if they were to pursue it. A focus on frugality is clear in the RFI materials as well.

    Decatur has high taxes, a strong local community, and a reputation for focusing on the development of that community, so the idea of creating a virtual social world for its current and potential residents isn’t that far afield. After all, aren’t we always talking about how socially galvanizing virtual worlds/MMOs are and stuff?


  4. 0
    Austin_Lewis says:

    In what way is this not a complete waste of taxpayer money? 

    But if you’d prefer to harp on your idiotic comment that has no part in this discussion, go for it.  I fail to see how a ‘virtual world’ will help with their economy, other than to spend a million or two that could go towards something useful.

  5. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    I dunno for building and getting people to preview the place so they can move to it, its not that bad of a ieda, but like most seemingly good iedas is the price worth the cost.
    Pirates,Shearers,Lenders and downloaders are not a market that can be taped by the mainstream.
    I is fuzzy brained mew =^^=

  6. 0
    PHX Corp says:

    Let the Game companies do a Social network, don’t let the goverment do it for you(Waste of Tax money for gov, Goverment should only endorse SL or PSH)


    right now Goverment should stick to fixing the economy so we dont end up in a Great Depression(My 2 cents)

  7. 0
    Arell says:

    Well, I wouldn’t use such an agressive and dismissive tone, but I do agree that it seems like a waste of public money.  Especially in the current economic climate.

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