Ready Player One

Ready Player One

by

Ernest Cline

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Innovative Online Industries (IOI) Symbol Analysis

Innovative Online Industries (IOI) Symbol Icon

Innovative Online Industries, known as IOI, is a communications company and the largest internet service provider in the world. As such, it wields an extremely large amount of power and embodies the trope of the “evil corporation.” IOI runs on an ethos of bloodthirsty greed. Early in the novel, the company tries to assassinate Wade by planting explosives in Aunt Alice’s trailer. Although Wade escapes, everyone in Aunt Alice’s stack (and the surrounding stacks) are killed; in a separate incident, they successfully kill Daito, framing his death as a suicide. IOI thus represents the real danger involved in participating in Halliday’s Easter egg hunt. While the hunt may appear to be “just a game,” the stakes are life and death. Furthermore, Wade’s determination to win the hunt is grounded in his desire to save the OASIS from falling into the hands of IOI, who he claims will transform it into a “fascist corporate theme park.” IOI plans to charge users a fee and to sell advertising space to other companies. To IOI, the OASIS has no value outside of its capacity to produce financial profit.

IOI also typifies the evil corporation trope because of the way it suppresses individuality. IOI employees must all use the same identical-looking avatar and are known by their employee numbers, all of which begin with the number 6––hence the nickname “Sixers.” When Wade is captured and sent to serve out an indenturement contract in exchange for a falsified “debt” he owes to IOI, all elements of his individuality are stripped away, and he is forced to live in a prison where freedom of expression is completely banned. While IOI often proclaim to be providing valuable services––for example, by offering free accommodation and healthcare to their employees––they in fact deliberately suppress individuality and take out anyone who threatens the supremacy of their wealth and power.

Innovative Online Industries (IOI) Quotes in Ready Player One

The Ready Player One quotes below all refer to the symbol of Innovative Online Industries (IOI). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Reality vs. Illusion Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of Ready Player One published in 2011.
Level One: 0002 Quotes

The moment IOI took it over, the OASIS would cease to be the open-source virtual utopia I'd grown up in. It would become a corporate-run dystopia, an overpriced theme park for wealthy elitists.

Related Characters: Wade Watts / Parzival (speaker)
Page Number: 33
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile
Level Three: 0029 Quotes

Then I was led into a warm, brightly lit room filled with hundreds of other new indents. They were all shuffling through a maze of guide ropes, like weary overgrown children at some nightmarish amusement park. There seemed to be an equal number of men and women, but it was hard to tell, because nearly everyone shared my pale complexion and total lack of body hair and we all wore the same gray jumpsuits and gray plastic shoes.

Related Characters: Wade Watts / Parzival (speaker)
Page Number: 277
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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Innovative Online Industries (IOI) Symbol Timeline in Ready Player One

The timeline below shows where the symbol Innovative Online Industries (IOI) appears in Ready Player One. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Level One: 0002
Nerds, Underdogs, and Obsession Theme Icon
The Individual vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Inequality, Elitism, and Corporate Power Theme Icon
Utopia vs. Dystopia Theme Icon
...dedicated to insulting the Sixers, a nickname for employees of the corporation Innovative Online Industries (IOI). IOI has created an egg-hunting division which employs professional egg-hunters called oologists, hoping that this... (full context)
Reality vs. Illusion Theme Icon
Nerds, Underdogs, and Obsession Theme Icon
Inequality, Elitism, and Corporate Power Theme Icon
Utopia vs. Dystopia Theme Icon
Gunters hate Sixers and believe that IOI has corrupted the “spirit” of Halliday’s egg hunt. There are now also gunter “clans,” groups... (full context)
Level One: 0013
Reality vs. Illusion Theme Icon
Nerds, Underdogs, and Obsession Theme Icon
The Individual vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Inequality, Elitism, and Corporate Power Theme Icon
...year. Wade then sees that he has received 5,000 versions of the same email from IOI offering a “highly lucrative business proposition.” The email is signed: “Nolan Sorrento, Head of Operations.”... (full context)
Nerds, Underdogs, and Obsession Theme Icon
The Individual vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Inequality, Elitism, and Corporate Power Theme Icon
...designer, which is obviously why he was recruited to work on the egg hunt for IOI. Wade sends him a chatlink invitation. (full context)
Level One: 0014
Reality vs. Illusion Theme Icon
The Individual vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Inequality, Elitism, and Corporate Power Theme Icon
Utopia vs. Dystopia Theme Icon
Through the chatlink session, Wade appears on a grand observation deck on IOI-1, the planet that serves as IOI headquarters. Chatlink sessions allow an avatar to appear in... (full context)
Reality vs. Illusion Theme Icon
The Individual vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Inequality, Elitism, and Corporate Power Theme Icon
Utopia vs. Dystopia Theme Icon
Wade believes he is the first gunter to be given a tour of IOI-1. Gunters have dreamed of blowing it up before, but have never been able to get... (full context)
Nerds, Underdogs, and Obsession Theme Icon
The Individual vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Inequality, Elitism, and Corporate Power Theme Icon
Utopia vs. Dystopia Theme Icon
...to the Oology Division, which Wade sarcastically calls “Sux0rz Central.” When Wade points out that IOI’s tactics for finding the egg are “cheating,” Sorrento disagrees, saying the hunt has no rules... (full context)
Nerds, Underdogs, and Obsession Theme Icon
The Individual vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Inequality, Elitism, and Corporate Power Theme Icon
Utopia vs. Dystopia Theme Icon
...but Sorrento refuses. Sorrento gives a long speech disputing the negative impression gunters have of IOI. He argues that, contrary to popular belief, IOI wants to “make the OASIS a better... (full context)
Reality vs. Illusion Theme Icon
Nerds, Underdogs, and Obsession Theme Icon
The Individual vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Inequality, Elitism, and Corporate Power Theme Icon
Utopia vs. Dystopia Theme Icon
Suddenly, Wade changes his mind and tells Sorrento and IOI to go “fuck a duck.” Sorrento gives him one final offer. When Wade refuses, Sorrento... (full context)
Level One: 0015
Reality vs. Illusion Theme Icon
Nerds, Underdogs, and Obsession Theme Icon
The Individual vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Inequality, Elitism, and Corporate Power Theme Icon
Utopia vs. Dystopia Theme Icon
Back on Ludus, Wade sees IOI gunships flying through the sky above him, and is relieved to remember that Ludus is... (full context)
Nerds, Underdogs, and Obsession Theme Icon
The Individual vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Inequality, Elitism, and Corporate Power Theme Icon
Utopia vs. Dystopia Theme Icon
...Sixers’ attempt to kill him. He then tells them about the elaborate Oology Division at IOI, with its team of scholars and experts. Daito suddenly grows suspicious that Wade is proposing... (full context)
Level Three: 0028
Reality vs. Illusion Theme Icon
The Individual vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Inequality, Elitism, and Corporate Power Theme Icon
Utopia vs. Dystopia Theme Icon
Wade is watching the 1985 movie Explorers when the IOI corporate police arrive at his apartment in Columbus. He sees them pull up and immediately... (full context)
Reality vs. Illusion Theme Icon
The Individual vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Inequality, Elitism, and Corporate Power Theme Icon
Utopia vs. Dystopia Theme Icon
...drive through Columbus, Wade is forced to watch a beach at sunset. He figures the IOI police play this to keep new indents calm during the drive. Wade pushes his visor... (full context)
Level Three: 0029
Reality vs. Illusion Theme Icon
The Individual vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Inequality, Elitism, and Corporate Power Theme Icon
Utopia vs. Dystopia Theme Icon
...them using the OASIS from GSS’s free access stations. The van pulls up to 101 IOI Plaza in downtown Columbus. The three buildings precisely resemble the IOI headquarters Wade visited inside... (full context)
Reality vs. Illusion Theme Icon
Nerds, Underdogs, and Obsession Theme Icon
The Individual vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Inequality, Elitism, and Corporate Power Theme Icon
Utopia vs. Dystopia Theme Icon
...a series of tests to determine how he can best be put to use by IOI. He intentionally fails all the questions related to Halliday and the Easter egg hunt, as... (full context)
Level Three: 0030
Reality vs. Illusion Theme Icon
Nerds, Underdogs, and Obsession Theme Icon
The Individual vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Inequality, Elitism, and Corporate Power Theme Icon
Utopia vs. Dystopia Theme Icon
Wade regularly falls asleep during his shift, to the point that IOI have started giving him narcolepsy pills to keep him awake. He saves them and takes... (full context)
Reality vs. Illusion Theme Icon
Nerds, Underdogs, and Obsession Theme Icon
The Individual vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Inequality, Elitism, and Corporate Power Theme Icon
Utopia vs. Dystopia Theme Icon
Seven months ago, Wade bought a set of IOI intranet passwords on the OASIS black market from a former IOI contract programmer. He hadn’t... (full context)
Reality vs. Illusion Theme Icon
Nerds, Underdogs, and Obsession Theme Icon
The Individual vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Inequality, Elitism, and Corporate Power Theme Icon
Utopia vs. Dystopia Theme Icon
...He plans to download the data and smuggle it out with him when he escapes IOI headquarters. Most of the database is made up of information about Halliday, some of which... (full context)
Reality vs. Illusion Theme Icon
Nerds, Underdogs, and Obsession Theme Icon
The Individual vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Inequality, Elitism, and Corporate Power Theme Icon
Utopia vs. Dystopia Theme Icon
...more beautiful in real life than in the OASIS. To his horror, he realizes that IOI have had her house under surveillance for months.   (full context)
Reality vs. Illusion Theme Icon
Nerds, Underdogs, and Obsession Theme Icon
The Individual vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Inequality, Elitism, and Corporate Power Theme Icon
Utopia vs. Dystopia Theme Icon
...only five hours ago. Before his arrest Wade had arranged a timed transfer into his IOI credit account that would clear his debt; however, that transfer isn’t coming for another five... (full context)
Level Three: 0031
Reality vs. Illusion Theme Icon
Nerds, Underdogs, and Obsession Theme Icon
The Individual vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Inequality, Elitism, and Corporate Power Theme Icon
Utopia vs. Dystopia Theme Icon
...two days’ time. He disables his security anklet and earpiece, then logs out of the IOI intranet. He retrieves a vacuum-packed IOI maintenance-tech uniform and puts it on. Telling his earpiece... (full context)
Reality vs. Illusion Theme Icon
Nerds, Underdogs, and Obsession Theme Icon
The Individual vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Inequality, Elitism, and Corporate Power Theme Icon
Utopia vs. Dystopia Theme Icon
...trash. Before his arrest, Wade rented a mailbox at an outlet four blocks away from IOI Plaza and had an OASIS rig shipped to it. He logs into the OASIS for... (full context)
Reality vs. Illusion Theme Icon
Nerds, Underdogs, and Obsession Theme Icon
The Individual vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Inequality, Elitism, and Corporate Power Theme Icon
Utopia vs. Dystopia Theme Icon
...real life.” He sends similar emails to Aech and Shoto. Soon after, he sees that IOI have already reported Bryce Lynch as a missing indent. Wade erases everything to do with... (full context)
Reality vs. Illusion Theme Icon
The Individual vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Inequality, Elitism, and Corporate Power Theme Icon
Utopia vs. Dystopia Theme Icon
...an OASIS parlor called the Plug, which he chooses because it is not owned by IOI. He asks to hire a deluxe rig for 12 hours. The cashier warns him that... (full context)
Reality vs. Illusion Theme Icon
Nerds, Underdogs, and Obsession Theme Icon
The Individual vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Inequality, Elitism, and Corporate Power Theme Icon
Utopia vs. Dystopia Theme Icon
Wade emails every major news channel with evidence of how IOI killed Daito and attempted to kill Wade. He also attaches the memo ordering the abduction... (full context)
Level Three: 0032
Reality vs. Illusion Theme Icon
Nerds, Underdogs, and Obsession Theme Icon
The Individual vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Inequality, Elitism, and Corporate Power Theme Icon
Utopia vs. Dystopia Theme Icon
...explains that he assumed a fake identity, purposefully got himself indentured, and hacked into the IOI database. Aech and Shoto express their admiration, but Art3mis remains skeptical, telling Wade it was... (full context)
Level Three: 0038
Reality vs. Illusion Theme Icon
Nerds, Underdogs, and Obsession Theme Icon
The Individual vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Inequality, Elitism, and Corporate Power Theme Icon
Utopia vs. Dystopia Theme Icon
...clips of Aunt Alice’s trailer being blown up all day. Wade sighs, pointing out that IOI will hire “the best lawyers in the world.” Aech points out that Wade can now... (full context)