Real money lost in a pretend world

Players of the Second Life game may have lost up to $750,000 (real money) to people in the online game (pretend world). Second Life is an elaborate online game in which players have avatars (computerized dolls) that look like real people, and the avatars participate in a life that mimics real life... doing business, going to work, partying with friends, living with families, and more.

The players of Second Life can deposit real money into the game, which shows up as "Linden dollars." They play the game, potentially opening businesses or working at jobs, and earn virtual money. They can buy real estate and pay for entertainment. But that money can be drawn back out as real money, so players can make or lose real money within the game.

Now the game has a banking scandal. Players of the game opened banks that other players could use in the virtual reality. But players complained because the banks didn't pay the returns on the deposits that they promised. Players started withdrawing the real money from the game, but some have found that the pretend banks aren't allowing them to withdraw their money. They've lost Linden dollars and real life dollars.