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
    Danny Staple, 17 Oct 2006 @ 5:21am

    What about second life?

    The game Second Life has an economy where there are not (AFAIK) faceless NPC vendors, but where vendors are all players just like us.

    There are not "wandering monsters" each with a pot of gold and sellable items. However, each player does receive a regular income of L$10 - which may/may not be money from thin air.

    I have not done a serious analysis, but there are a number of places that exchange L$ for real currency including USD and GBP.

    Also, in regards to WoW - they have a subscription model do they not? So some of the wandering monster money/vendor money could be funded from the subscription amount - as "agents" if you like of Blizzard.

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