virtual economies

Old news that I never digested from about a year ago.

At first I wondered, well what exactly is being produced in game economies that are of productive value? Then, I thought, wait, what is being produced in real economies that are of productive value? Especially the “service sector.” Lots of things can be dismissed as having no productive value, but as long as there is demand, there is value, and where there is value, there is an economy waiting to develop. I guess that’s the first lesson.

Secondly, there is no way Anshe Chung would have been as successful in the real world without the virtual world existing. Not only would she not have pursued some of the, erm, career opportunities, let’s say, nor would she have been given the kind of opportunities such as real estate “development” to amass the starting capital as easily — most opportunities in the real world have been taken or have strong players already firmly entrenched. It puts a new kink in the argument of work vs. luck in terms of financial (or general) success in life, and it highlights the fine boundary between obeying social constraints vs. giving up on risk taking.


  1. Anonymous
    January 26th, 2008 | 10:37

    Problem is, Anshe Chung is operating within Virtual Worlds, and their investment policies may not be wise. For one, Second Life’s virtual world ToS states that if they think you are breaking their ToS, they’ll seize everything. Your Liden Cash (real-life money). Your properties. Your ‘avatar’ too.

    You think a RL government would so something so stupid. But Second Life did and now they’re getting sued for such a thing.

    The lawyer who got his property consificated, yes, broke the law, but does that REALLY entitle Second Life to seize all his money?

    The second argument is that ‘virtual properties’ are easy to make if you know how to code. And since the designers know how to code, they can create as many as they want and flood the market, making money in the process. Again, if you want to go and invest in ‘virtual worlds’, which I know is a very, very dumb idea, you need to make sure the designers are smart.

    Or, become a designer of the MMO yourself.

  2. Silent
    January 26th, 2008 | 10:43

    Oh, sorry for bumping it, but it does seem like the man who is sueing…well…ahem, won the lawsuit.

  3. Silent
    January 26th, 2008 | 10:50

    And, uh, the resolution of said lawsuit, which was kept very confidental:

    Sorry, just thought this case would have been interesting.

  4. me
    January 28th, 2008 | 2:40

    Not sure how Second Life works exactly, but I think there is only a finite amount of “land” there. Also Anshe Chung isn’t primarily investing in real estate, she’s just the builder, so as long as she turns over what she builds and gets her money, it no longer is her problem if anything gets seized.

    But she’s quite the opportunist because she also apparently has a currency arbitrage business.

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