While sitting together on the couch in their physical living room, they recited their vows in front of hundreds of cyberfriends in an extravagant Utherverse ceremony complete with a long dress, hired DJ and elaborate decorations.Avatars can attend and participate in educational classes, political town halls, live comedy shows, DJ performances and entrepreneurial endeavors. A study released this month by the Visa-owned research group Play Span found that almost one third of the general gaming population uses real money in virtual games as game dollars can be bought with real dollars (230 Lindens in Second Life translates to 1 USD plus a 30 cent fee; one Ray in Utherverse roughty translates to 7 cents, although the actual cost shifts based on the world's market prices)."People will send me pictures of their [real] kids. Mosel created Av Match, a dating profile site similar to or Ok Cupid for users' Second Life avatars.
Decked out in matching jeans, cowboy hats and black boots, they had their real wedding in July 2010 in front of Sean's family and a justice of the peace in a small church in Colorado.
Their avatar wedding occurred eight months earlier, however.
The Riselings also number among the many people who have found love through massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) such as Utherverse, World of Warcraft and Second Life.
According to a 2007 study, one in three MMORPG players have found themselves attracted to another player.
"I'd have notes from women, and if I wasn't interested I'd feel just horrible ... Its premium unlimited package, which allows members to reach out to as many avatars as they want, costs 1425 lindens (units of Second Life currency) a month, which translates to $5.25.
While some members post only their avatars -- a perfected image of an often-idealized self -- others post pictures of their offline selves and make it clear that they see dating on Second Life as equivalent to dating in real life."That's kind of a big debate: some people view it as a game and other people don't, they see it as an extension of their lives," Mosel said.Other gamers make a living in businesses created on MMORPGs. The French watchdog organization Familles de France filed an unsuccessful lawsuit against Linden Lab, the creator of the MMOPPG Second Life, opposing the adult content of the site.The plaintiffs stated accurately, "users can mimic sexual acts, going as far as rape scenes, bondage, zoophilia and scatophilia."While Shuster and his late business partner, Ray Schwartz, actually created Utherverse in 2005 to put a new spin on adult sex sites by creating an MMORPG version, he found an almost immediate demand for weddings and opportunities to foster romance, not just virtual hookups."There are 100 [virtual] weddings a month right now, which is mind boggling," Shuster said, and they often lead to real long-term relationships. It's like real life -- you can meet in a club or a comedy show."In 2007, however, Marc Mosel, 42, decided to combine elements of flat dating sites and online and virtual dating."I was the troll, [an avatar called] Have-Sex-Now, the suave lover, the annoying guy -- and then I was just [an avatar version of] me," Heick said."And then along came Nancy."Nancy Hime, 26, approached Heick outside of an Utherverse bar, and the two became fast friends and then business partners in a lucrative virtual clothing company.Sean and Meta, 37 and 38, respectively, met as avatars.