What Kind Of Virtual Economy Is It When Millions Of Dollars Just Disappear?

from the ask-Cartman dept

For years, we've been hearing reports about the growth of in-game virtual economies, often claiming things like it's equal to the economy of Namibia. Of course, many of those claims break down when you look closely at them, as the numbers are actually much smaller than claimed, or the transactions are questionably counted. There are also other problems with trying to count in-game economies -- partly because they're very much at the whim of the makers of various games. So, for example, when World of Warcraft makers Blizzard simply remove 11 million gold pieces from circulation, after shutting down accounts that made gold through fraud and cheats, how is that counted in the grand economic scheme? Just like questions revolving around whether or not real world laws apply within games, it's not so easy to just say that the economies of these games can be equated with real world economies as well.

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  1. identicon
    Policy_Wonk, 17 Oct 2006 @ 6:14am

    Entropia Universe has a 'real virtual' economy. The PED (game currency) is pegged directly to the dollar (10 - 1) and you can cash out at any time. As far as I can tell, that is a real economy, with real estate selling for thousands of US$. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropia_Universe ) And I think the analogy to the Fed destroying currency is correct. This could potentialy destroy an economy, but most likely the market will bounce back (exchange rates and inflation will adjust accordingly.

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