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
    The Infamous Joe, 17 Oct 2006 @ 4:16am

    I'm a dork.

    At the risk of opening my mouth and proving I'm a fool...

    I'm not sure that the gold situation is even comparable to the real world... for example: If a player run out and kills a computer controlled enemy-- he or she will probably find some amount of gold or other type of currency (silver, copper, etc) which, before that computer enemy was killed, did not exist in the game economy.

    Along the same lines, if a player sells an item to a vandor (computer run buyer/seller) then the currency he or she recivies was just created from thin virtual air...

    It would be like going to a pawn shop and selling your CD player or Super NES-- and the pawn shop paying you in legal tender that it created that day. Times 7 million (or however many people play WoW)

    Maybe I missed the point of the entire article... the closet thing to a "real" economy in WoW, as far I can tell, is the Auction House-- which behaves eerily like real life.

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