Video Game Economics

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I suppose I am open for attacks that I'm just finding things that reaffirm my prior beliefs, but I am truly becoming more and more certain that online gaming worlds are just about ready for use as places to perform economic simulations that might be too expensive, too hard to randomize, or just too ethically "iffy" in the real world (randomizing people in schooling, social staus, income endowments, etc).

This weekend the WaPo ran a great article on massively multiplyer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) and the real markets for online goods that are cropping up. Included is a mention of a site I'll admit to stopping through every so often:, where you can track the progress of various game currencies against real-world measures.

And -- though I'm terribly late in linking it by internet-standards -- there's this interesting note from the BBC about Sony Online Entertainment's responses to Katrina. Apart from the laudable efforts to collect donations for people caught in the devastation, SOE is making sure that those people who play EverQuest will have their accounts, and -- possibly more importantly -- the items they own online, protected:

"Additionally, for our 13,000+ players actually in the affected areas, we will be suspending billing until such time as they are able to play again" said SOE in a statement.

"In addition, any items or structures in any of our games, which decay over time, will be preserved until the user's next login."

1 Comment

Your article brings up some good points about how seriously people take their gaming and their online accounts.

But one thing that never seems to come up is what would happen if something happened to the game companies servers and all account info is lost. Most game companies has a terms of service agreement that you accept when you first start playing the game that would excuse them from being responsible for any lose to the players.

So all that time and money and effort players have put into building up a character would be lost with no restitution.

I think it is only time before players will be able to start getting insurance for their online gaming accounts.


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This page contains a single entry by published on September 19, 2005 9:57 AM.

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