Virtual Economics

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Here is a fascinating–and very long–article on the rise of real-world economic institutions surrounding virtual game worlds, including currency traders, brokers and arbitragers in virtual goods, low-wage sweatshops, and, of course, academic economists to study them all.

Reason has taken a look at such virtual issues in our April issue, with articles by Jesse Walker and Kevin Parker.

[Link via Arts and Letters Daily]

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  1. I’ve played online games like these since 1998, and it just keeps growing. It really is some people’s real-life job to “farm” for in-game money. It can be a real annoyance too. I just started playing Lineage II, and there’s a real problem with chinese players who “farm” regions of the world for in-game money which is then sold on ebay through a third party. The game began last month and already there are millions of “adena” trading on ebay.

  2. Interesting article, but it completely mangles the details of EverQuest and the EQ economy — badly enough to largely invalidate the points it is arguing.

  3. I noticed that too… it seemed to be confusing aspects of Everquest and Ulitma Online, as well as over simplifing things whenever possible. Maybe they’re afraid if they use words like “Elf Paladin”, “Human Enchanter”, and “Halfling Warrior” thier readers will feel themselves turning into nerds and run.

  4. It looks like it’s time to quit my day job!

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