Italian police are investigating a Facebook-game burglary, after one woman from Palermo, Sicily, complained she’d had robbed of $140 dollars in Pet Society-based items and left with only her “virtual cat.”
In what reads like a press release (after all, who’s to say this wasn’t just planned for publicity), the game itself has been repeatedly described as “a social pet simulation game from Playfish [that] lets players decorate virtual houses and shop for stylish virtual clothes for their virtual pets.”
While at first it seems frivolous, the victim Paola Letizia, 44, said of the house: “It is real to me and I have suffered a real loss.’ She did after all “spend $139 virtual items like paintings, mirrors, carpets, and an aquarium.”
Never mind what we as press mean when we put quotes around a statement containing the words ‘real’ or ‘reality,’ police apparently, are treating the incident as a serious burglary; with the perpetrator liable to facing a charge of ‘illegal and aggravated entry’ which carries a prison sentence in Italy.
Which makes us wonder: Even if your virtual aquarium isn’t real in reality, but rather a virtual entity doesn’t it still raise the question as long as the game is real, and perceived to be real, then shouldn’t we also consider it tangible as any other kind of digitized capital? The Italian police department seem to think so.