Sony Backs More Efficient Allocation of Things That Don't Exist

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After having been hammer-and-tong against people selling virtual goods, Sony has decided to do a 180.

Virtual goods exchange occurs when a player of an online game decides to sell off access to some sort of item that is valuable within the game in question. Everything from particular items to property to entire characters are being traded back and forth -- using real cash. Sony Online used to argue against this activity, and worked to block people who were suspected of having done this. No longer.

Starting in late June, SOE will begin offering a new service called Station Exchange. This secure service will allow EverQuest II players on specific servers to buy and sell the right to use items, coin and characters. To be clear, all we are doing is facilitating these transactions. We are NOT in the business of selling virtual goods ourselves.

According to the article such exchange has blossomed into a US$200 million a year market. For things that don't exist. I still say that people who are eager to spend close to $200 on a single character are going to respond in ways that reasonably approximate real life when faced with experimental conditions. The biggest hurdle to using these things as econ labs? Selection bias on the the test group; it's a specific crowd that takes that kind of time and effort. Hey, I could well be one of them, so no offense. I'm just saying, is all...

2 Comments

I doubt that, as a group, gamers are any more biased than economics undergraduate students, who are the usual participants in (victims of?) economic experiments. In fact, gamers probably have far less incentive to intentionally mess around with the experiment....

The problem is that people in China are playing these games to make in game money which they sell to rich Americans.

This sort of ruins the fun of the game for everyone. But I gues Sony gave up trying to stop it.

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