Whereas many articles discuss the implications of real world law applied to virtual settings, Balkin examines the issues of freedom and regulation in these cyber worlds. The three primary types of freedom as outlined by Balkin are the freedom to play, the freedom to design, and the freedom to design together. These rights are similar to the real-world constitutional rights of the freedom of speech, the freedom of expression, and the freedom of association.
In the freedom to play, players choose whether or not they engage in virtual world games with their in-game characters and personalities. The freedom of design belongs to the developers of the games who construct and maintain the game and server upon which all players depend. The freedom to design together is perhaps the most important in terms of advancement and growth of the virtual community. Players and developers alike enhance the game through updates and contributions. Ultimately, this type of freedom, with some restrictions of course, drives the innovation of the game products, leading to an increase in consumer base and player satisfaction.
Some argue that rules in virtual worlds should develop on their own outside from real-world experiences. Yet, with the emerging field of using virtual worlds to simulate and test real life models, it becomes appropriate that actual law should have some significance in virtual communities. As the trading of virtual goods with real currencies continues, it seems inevitable for legal regulation in gaming worlds. Then, how will developers respond to outside law governing their gaming products? Constitutional laws, especially First Amendment rights, depend on the nature of the game and its community. There are games that are commercial in nature, while others are expressions of art and social interaction. In either case, the profitability of the game to the owner is irrelevant. Rather, the most important distinction in assigning real law onto online game communities should be in the game’s commercial and economic similarity to the real world.