[ba-unrev-talk] Virtual World grows real economy
"A computer game played by thousands of enthusiasts over the Internet has
spawned an economy with a per-capita income comparable to that of a small
country, according to new research by a US economist.
The online fantasy game EverQuest lets players create and control
characters - or avatars - within a fantasy world called Norrath. Characters
gain skills and possessions that they can then trade with other players
using the game's currency of "platinum pieces". However, many EverQuest
players have found this process too complicated and have instead opted to
sell their assets for real money though trading web sites such as eBay.
Edward Castronova, of the economics department at California State
University at Fullerton, studied thousands of EverQuest transactions
performed through eBay to determine the real-world economic value generated
by the inhabitants of Norrath.
Castronova discovered that Norrath's gross national product per-capita is
$2,266. If Norrath was a country, it would be the 77th most wealthy in the
world, just behind Russia. " (01)