Real-Money Trade of Virtual Assets: New Strategies for Virtual World Operators
VIRTUAL WORLDS, Ipe, Mary, ed., pp. 113-137, Icfai University Press, Hyderabad, India, 2008
10 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2009
Date Written: 2008
Game assets such as characters, currencies and items are increasingly being traded for real money. Game operators have reacted in various ways: some attempt to curtail the trade, while others encourage it. A growing number are getting involved in the trade themselves. In this paper I develop a classification based on market structures that maps the range of strategies available to an operator for dealing with real-money virtual asset trade. I apply the classification in four case studies and explore the implications of the various strategies on business, design and customer satisfaction. The case titles are EverQuest, Ultima Online, Habbo Hotel and Project Entropia. The results aim to help designers and business developers deal with the real-money trade phenomenon in a more structured manner.
(First published in Proceedings of the 2005 Conference on Future Play (Future Play 2005), Lansing, MI, USA, October 13-15, 2005)
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