T Nation

The Virtual Economy and Video Games


#1

I'm a firm believer that it's a very fine line between bat-shit crazy and inspired genius. This article seems to show that point rather well:

http://news.com.com/Banking+on+a+virtual+economy/2008-1043_3-5974118.html

Has anyone ever played this Project Entropia (http://www.project-entropia.com) game before? I am utterly fascinated by the concept of an on-line RPG where the economy runs off of real, honest-to-goodness money. Here is how they explain it on the site:

If anyone else has tried this before, I would be incredibly curious to hear about your experiences. I know people have sold special items in games like Everquest, but this takes it to the next level where the entire game's economy is all based on real money.


#2

I remember reading this story about everquest II:

http://plaguelands.com/?page_id=172

Where some guy found a bug in the game that allowed him to duplicate items, which he sold for game money, and then sold the game money for real money, making about $70,000. Interesting read.

Could be a tricky thing.


#3

A more general article on making money in MMO's

http://www.fortune.com/fortune/technology/articles/0,15114,1130814,00.html?promoid=yahoo

-Daniele


#4

^^ " There have been many Internet reports, for instance, of alleged gaming sweatshops in Mexico, Indonesia, China, or Romania, where workers are said to be paid low wages to play the game and engage in "farming"?the process of repetitively killing a certain monster solely for the purpose of accumulating items for resale."

:o


#5

I don't particularly like a game that gives you rewards based upon how rich you are in real life. It would be unfair for younger people who can't afford to put as much money in a game, but can put more time into it. However, I suppose this game has its own market.

I knew a guy who played Ultima Online and aquired a number of good items, etc. He also had a few comptuers macroing (ie: a simple computer program was running that did the same key presses and mouse movements over and over, and he could get land and houses and such things like this.) so that he could then turn around and sell these on eBay. I think he made a nice small sum on the stuff.

This is true. A different friend of mine buys gold and charachters from sites online. I hate that type of thing, because it introduces (as I've said before) real world economy into a game that is not supposed to be based upon how much money you have to spend in the real world. The game is based uppon how much "hard" work you put in. He got scammed the most recent time, I don't know what happened since tho.


#6

This could become a problem for games like that Project Entropia, but it sounds like the people who are making the money (at least right now) were not wealthy to begin with, they just figured out how to be entrepreneurial in the game itself. Will that always be the case? We'll have to see. How bizarre would it be if you had some big investment bank come in one day and drop an enormous amount of cash to buy up a bunch of the land in the game to then rent out to everyone else? I suppose everyone could just quit playing and cash out their money...

The other thing I find somewhat bizarre is that they have things like these deluxe virtual apartments you can buy in the game. OK, if I'm just in the game to make money, why am I going to drop dime one on that kind of thing? Sure, the people who are true believers about being "immersed in the experience" may do it, but I would stick with the cheapest hovel I could and put all the money back into the business. The nice thing is that, unlike real life, you do not have to personally suffer through living in a one room shack and eating Ramen noodles every day to save cash... the virtual you gets to enjoy that fun.


#7

Well considering I played the original EverQuest for 4 years, this is old news in terms of the resale value of some of this stuff. To be quite honest, when I quit I was a top tier player and sold my account and all rights to it for $500 USD to a friend that OFFERED it to me. Otherwise I could have gone to places like www.mysupersales.com or several other online game shops and possibly have gotten over 1 grand in cash. For awhile there, before Sony beat the crap out of Ebay, it was not uncommon to see accounts for EQ going at 1,000 to 3,000 USD. Really an interesting prospect though if you were willing to put a fraction of our time in playing a game, you could literally make a nice turnaround on all the money you had spent. Now that EQ2 is out, I expet many people to continue with the "tradition" of farming for real world cash. Though now you can see it coming from a multitude of sources like: Guild Wars, Ultima, EQ1 and 2, Neverwinter Nights, World of Warcraft, and several other games that I can't think of off the top of my head. I won't say that what they are doing in Eutropia is wrong, just a more straight forward approach to something that has already been going on for years.


#8

ive played p.e. for about a year now, and i can promise you, there is no chance on making money, or a very slim chance, so dont bother.

i have about 1.5k usd in the game so far, i have nice gear, nice skills, but you just dont ever loot anything, ever since it became public, all of the really nice items stopped dropping, making some of the items 5k+ usd to get ahold of. so unless you have a really fat cc, and a lot of patience, dont bother, go check out http://www.entropiaforum.com/ and read about all of the old time players, and newer players, and mid level players, like myself, all we do is lose money, i lose about 50 usd in 2-3 hours latley.

sorry, hi all, i was looking for a game like p.e. and ran accross your site, i tried WoW, and hated it, but im looking for a skill based, community game, that isnt sooo repetitive, any suggestions?


#9

Have you tried Guild Wars? Skills are everything in the game, but I cannot necessarily speak for whether or not you will find it repetitive. The map itself is pretty damn expansive, which helps.