Joho the Blog » [DG] Edward Castronova: Virtual Worlds

[DG] Edward Castronova: Virtual Worlds

Ted is an economist. He’s the guy who wrote the paper about the economics of Evetrquest. You can find more papers by him here. [Abstract]

He surveyed users of Everquest, and got 3,619 answers. He applied some standard economic techniques to evaluate the economics of that Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG, i.e., More-Peg). And, most entertainingly, he found that 20% of respondents said that they live in Norrath (one of the game’s worlds) and visit the real world. The average of all respondents is spending 4.5 hours per day playing the game and have put a total of about 800 hours into their main avatar.

“This is a frontier.” It attracts people who are stigmatized. It can greatly increase human well-being.

Ted reports on new, unpublished research. He wants to see if two characters sold at ebay have different prices because one is male and one is female. At a $400 typical auction price, the female sells at about a 10% discount.

Ted also tracks currency prices for the virtual world’s money against the US dollar. At the moment, Korean bucks are worth less than virtual simoleons.

He says that the current model in which a corporation is in charge of the virtual world isn’t working too well. Players are constantly pissed off and feel completely alienated from the governing body. It will have to change but he doesn’t know how.

2 Responses to “[DG] Edward Castronova: Virtual Worlds”

  1. Will the second coming be a female virtual avatar?

  2. Why the dicrefenfe? A good question. Maybe it has something to do with the peril of water vs. the peril of fire. Or the culture of the Western US vs. Southern US. Or education vs. lack of education. Or celebrities vs. no-name people. With a new governor of Louisiana it will be interesting to see if the State rises in esteem when the next flood hits.

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