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
    MMO Economist, 17 Oct 2006 @ 9:26am

    It is all balance

    I like to consider myself i sort of expert on MMO's. I wont get into credentials for sake of time, but when it comes to money, it doesnt matter how much money is created/destroyed as long as both values stay close to equal. Yes, in WoW, you can go around creating money all the time by killing mobs and selling loot, however you are losing money at (hopefully) the same rate by repairing your equipment ( WoW players know this is expensive) buying items from NPC Vendors, and paying for training. The goal for any developer is to make sure these inputs and outputs are equal. Now, before you ask "What about player's trading" , let me go ahead and say that it isnt a concern to developers from an economical standpoint because here money isn't created or destroyed, it is just moved around, therefore no risk of inflation/depression. As long as input / output of the money is equal , there isnt much of a risk of severe economical problems. And in the case of the 11 million gold removed by blizzard, it was not generated fairly, or with the intent of using it fairly, so blizzard , in turn, had to perform a similar unfair act to adjust, it shouldnt affect the economy as this gold normally just sits in acccounts until someone buys it and spews it all over the place causing mass inflation.

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