Friday, September 28, 2012

Economics of Gaming Scale. Redux!



I was saying that this is a pretty nifty field to start jumping into. And now they’re all doing it! Oh economists you. Nothing new since the 1960’s and now that you have a toy to play with, you want to be first in line to make discoveries.
And as I’ve said before, we as gamers are fully aware of the power of currency in video games. It runs our life force for MMO’s and other online games.

One thing the Washington Post article focuses on, possibly unintentionally, is that our actions in video games are replicated in reality. The banking crisis of 2007 in Second Life was very similar to the real-world U.S. equivalent, but not with billions of dollars more like $750k. In World of Warcraft when we want to shift the market to drive down the cost of tin (for example), we’ll group up with others and sell other products at a fixed price that requires tin, eventually causing it to lower in price.

Or my favorite from Final Fantasy XI when they announced that the magic accuracy was going to be altered for a patch. People flipped out and started selling all of their million gil (at that time having 10 million meant you were one rich mofo) gear for next to nothing. Some of us were pretty smart and stocked up (Sale Price: 25k. Original Price: 5.5 million). The patch was released. People worried over nothing and started buying their gear back, kicking the prices back up to the millions.

These situations occur constantly in reality. That bacon crisis people were flipping out over this week? Well you probably will only pay a few cents more at the grocery store next year. Whoopie.
But something that simple can cause a drastic change in the economy. Prices change. People start stocking up.

We do it all the times in video games. How many times have you horded a material so you wouldn’t have to worry about price fluxes in the future?

I’ve been reading up on how SecondLife is currently holding up. It became a hot ticket a few years back but the buzz around it isn’t as heavy as it was.

One thing I can say quality really has succeeded over quantity. I pulled out a list of businesses (everything from clothing, hair, art, photography, homes, scripts, objects, dances) and most are still up and running. A few have had their moved locations or have scaled up/down to accommodate the changing environment, but these have lasted for years under the same owners versus the night clubs or dance pad camps. Those places on my old list are long gone.

In fact, it seems like “camping” has completely died out as well as those survey hubs. Does anyone remember those? They were such a big deal when I was in the world. Basically you sit at this place, typically with a group tag on, you fill out surveys and offers online, and after completing them within a few minutes you would be sent Linden based on your responses. Typical payout was 50L, which is still quite a bit to live off of. That is if you didn’t mind the amount of spam your e-mail would be flooded with.

Now if you want to earn Linden, you have to work for it. I think the banking scare of 2007, causing Linden Labs to have more authority, that people fear repercussions. It’s still a budding place of creativity and unique visions. But plastered on the walls of “shops” are anti-piracy laws that Linden Labs is trying to enforce. Be free and have fun! but we’re still watching you.

Second Life is also an interesting pickle because unlike other “games” you don’t really need money. If you have even half of a creative cell in your body you could make all of your clothes, body parts, accessories, items, objects, and pets. There are also loads of Freebe places still available that you can pick up items without any contracts to sign or spam e-mails. Having money is nice and can get you objects that you can’t make, but it’s not a necessity, where as WoW you kind of need money to make/buy some things. There’s just no way to avoid it.

You know what…I think I’m going to jump back into SL and see what it’s really like. I’m basing all of this from internet research. I haven’t been back in YEARS. This might be a good time to see what’s up and who’s who. This is interesting to me! I know…I’m a geek. Deal with it.

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