Second Life: Money Checks In, But It Doesn't Check Out
from the mlm dept
In addition to all of the hype surrounding Second Life, particularly when a company announces that it's setting up a business inside the virtual world, a lot is made of the fact that the game seems to have a sizable economy, in which fortunes can be won or lost. Unfortunately, like everything else surrounding it, such as its population of users, the facts aren't so cut and dry. While there may be a fair amount of plain vanilla trade (i.e. one person selling a good to another), the economy doesn't seem to support anything financially sophisticated. One speculator thought he saw an arbitrage opportunity based on the interest rates paid to deposits in in-game banks. But while the math worked out, the plan failed. The investor soon discovered that it was difficult to collect on his investment, and that many of the people with whom he was doing business turned out not to be trustworthy. So while it was theoretically possible to rack up big profits in Linden Dollars, on paper, actually getting them and then converting them back to real currency proved difficult. Reflecting on his experience, his conclusion is that the economy is essentially a pyramid scheme, where it's easy to pump money in and see it inflate, but it's difficult to cash out. Of course, if you're still interested in setting up a business in Second Life, how about starting a collection service?