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Scary Stuff

#1

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20120524...of-money/1

I knew it was coming at some time but here is the start and I wonder if it will work.

If real money gaming takes hold maybe we will see some people literally living 24/7 ingame.

I am sure that a end gamer could earn enough real money to live on by selling them items only available at the end raids if a game like World of Warcraft or LOTRO were upgraded to a real money auction house.
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#2

well it might still be a while, but from an economic standpoint it is not a ridiculous notion.

Roughly the gaming industry has an annual revenue that dwarfs the rest of the entertainment industry, and is quickly gaining on sports.
Yet I don't see developers being paid film star money.

In Asia gaming competitions are already being televised and world wide thousands of people already make their money in competitive gaming. This started in the late 90s when the absolute top of games like Counter-strike, Quake and Warcraft started bringing home checks of up to 100.000 euros.

Avid gamers will remember the names SK gaming and f4t4l1ty who I believe is actually still active.

The point is, if there is money involved, you can make a living of it. And where entertainment is involved, you get stars.
If certain games allow people to showcase certain talents, and other people can somehow share in this, be it by spectatorship or as consumers of some kind.

Personally, I am always contemplating ways of getting in on the ground floor of the revolution that is sure to come, ideas ranging from gaming schools to professional teams to some kind of service industry for gamers, with the right idea you could make millions.
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#3

ANARCHY ONLINE:

In 2001 the devs of Anarchy Online tried to make real money a vital part of the ingame economy. No subscription etc. but anything you bought ingame was real money and the company (Norwiegan) had a 10-15% cut on every deal made. In the end they had to make it free to play because they didn´t get the playerbase to sustain that concept.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarchy_Online



SECOND LIFE:

Quote:The currency in Second Life, the Linden Dollars, can be easily acquired with real money, the reverse is done through a market place owned by Linden Lab, but is not guaranteed, as the TOS of linden Lab explicitly says that Linden dollars are not redeemable. Rates would fluctuate based on supply and demand, but over the last few years they have remained fairly stable at around 265 Linden Dollars (L$) to the US Dollar, due to "money creation" by Linden Lab.

Quote taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_economy


Introduction to Second Life (historical view)

In the game Second Life people craft items then sell them for real money. This is just an example. I have no personal experience of this game.



ULTIMA ONLINE:

I know Ultima Online (1997) had these guys living off selling ingame things. Mostly because the phone bill atttached to the 28.8 or 56.6 modem connection could be as high as $540 for about 500 hours of gameplay in a month. This wasn´t an issue back then because no one knew what was going on, everyone was new to MMOs. If i´m not mistaken Richard Garriott was the first person to raise the issues with online gaming and real money. Not sure what became of his efforts though.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultima_Online



One last note, what Thoronthor said about e-sport is true. In the mid 1990s there was these online leagues in the game Doom. In a way it was world championships because whoever won the league of the season was the champs. (I was asked by a real life friend to join his hardcore competing guild and be one of the backbone players but i declined). No money to be made winning these leagues only fame. In the late 1990s early 2000s people wanted prize money as a reward for their efforts. So in order to make it legit they introduced this e-sport licence. If you had one you were a pro and in essence could get sponsors to pay for the gaming. Yes the game that brought forth the avalanche of e-sport event etc. was Counter Strike. SK Gaming is a Swedish guild and was very successful in the game Counter Strike. Ninjas in Pyjamas, another Swedish guild, along with SK Gaming more or less dominated the Counter Strike scene for a period of time.

As for f4t4l1ty. He was in a crappy guild but his raw talant for the Counter Strike game made him a "legend". Through his personal sponsors he put all these gaming gear on the market. (I never liked those products).
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#4

Amusingly, I can't view that page from the UK Jack, because it's owned by BBC Worldwide.
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#5

Back in 2008, I posted the following on a blog about LOTRO which I wrote at the times:

LOTRO: HOME OF THE WHITE MICE?

It seems to me that a successful MMORPG represents, amongst other things, an almost perfect microeconomic model – and what’s more, one based on the responses and reactions of real people, rather than computer algorithms. All the elements of classic market economy theory are present: supply and demand, gluts and shortages, self-interest and a very moderate amount of altruism, love of novelty and brand loyalty - and of course, determined efforts to influence, manipulate or subvert the market…

This conceit is reinforced by the frequently violent fluctuations of LOTRO’s economy as expressed though Auction House prices. Among the reasons for such fluctuations are changes in the supply of specific goods as implemented by the designers (i.e., price control by the government) and the introduction of new and hence more desirable goods (i.e., innovation and marketing by manufacturers). At the moment we seem to be going through a mild depression, with prices for many goods set high while demand is falling. The current price for that perennial market indicator, the Beryl Shard, is floating just above 1 gold, up more than 40% from early January. Scarcity drives up prices, needless to say, but sometimes it does so to the point of also driving out buyers. Bits of the highly desirable Armour of the Aurochs set, for instance, which have the great market advantage of not being Bind on Acquire (BoA), are found almost exclusively in Helegrod – but as we know, Helegrod requires 24-man raids which are difficult to organise and, as far as the individual player is concerned, offer a very poor return on time invested. The result is that not many players bother to raid there, and Armour of the Aurochs pieces are correspondingly scarce; a Helm of the Aurochs may be the most expensive item on the Laurelin AH, offered at 70G with an 80G buy-out.

Not surprisingly, the current scarcity of top-quality single-use recipes has also driven up the price of the very best crafted weapons, armour and jewellery; Etched Beryl Necklaces average 5-6G, Etched Beryl Bracelets 12-14G and Etched Beryl Earrings 15-16G. On the other hand, the general disdain in which Annuminas armour is held by most players and the extreme difficulty of assembling complete sets (is anybody still bothering?) means that the market for Arnorian Armour Fragments and Battered Arnorian Armour has almost collapsed; current prices are as low as 10-20 silver for the former and about 300S for the latter, with no takers. Rift-Iron Coins are on offer for 400-500S each, again with no takers at that price – probably a reflection of the fact that there’s not much of value to buy with them. In general, it can be taken for granted that irrespective of what the developers intended, the price of poorly thought-out or unimpressive goods will quickly go though the floor – another perfect concordance with real-world economics.

Come to think of it, how do we know that LOTRO’s economy isn’t already being manipulated by economists from the Harvard Business School running arcane experiments? Maybe those infamous gold-farmers are really MBAs, and all of us are nothing more than white mice running through a sophisticated economics simulation. A chilling thought.


I still like the idea of LOTRO as an economics think-tank experiment. However, as the basis for a cash economy, any MMORPG will always be vulnerable to outright manipulation by the designers/publishers; it is they, after all, who ultimately control the flow of goods and raw materials.
[Image: dnsignature.jpg]
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#6
(This post was last modified: 30 May, 12, 01:47 by Arcanix.)

Problem with the MMORPG microeconomic model is that it´s flawed to the core. Due to game mechanics the ingame currency is at endagme useless. If you want to get raid ready with your T3 or T12 (depending on the game) you need to grind for it. Often grinding instances/raids with a lockout period of one day to three days. Why? BtC or BtA gear or materials. This is why you have loot rules, like the DKP system. Need before greed focusing on main spec, off spec, main toon, alt toons etc.

If the devs want to fix the ingame economy they have to change the fundamental economic game mechanics as we know it. They´ll have to change how you level and gear up, by looking at general human behavioral patterns and use those psychological models to create a solid  microeconomic model. One human behavioral rule they should focus on is "people do not set prizes at what the product is worth but at a level matching their spending needs". To combat this destructive behavior pattern you need sinkholes, Blizzard are masters at that, but sinkholes fuels the goldfarmers resolve to destroy the game economy.

The goldfarmers in the MMOs focus on the low-mid level toons. "To lessen the time spent grinding" they say. Well, problem is if you want endgame gear you´ll have to grind regardless. Who wants to change gear to match every level until cap anyway? This materialistic myth and a false sense of popularity is why these people make real money off MMOs.

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#7

what he means is "if you cant buy end game gear then what's the point"

only with more words :p
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#8
(This post was last modified: 30 May, 12, 01:54 by Arcanix.)

Point is, if you can buy endgame gear with money (real or ingame currency) or tokens etc. the devs will kill the game by letting the hardcore players down. Why? Why experience the agony of organizing a pug raid etc. when you can kill 1250 mobs and still get your T3 items? (Blizzard killed WoW because of this). Why even play the game at all? Buy a toon on E-bay, use it for 5 minutes then sell it to the next guy.

On the other hand, if you make the endgame raiding too gear intensive and exclusive you´ll end up with a VERY elitistic and toxic community. It doesn´t matter if it´s on a RP server.


Example:

In WoW i was in this guild called Furius Five. Endgame focused with schedualed runs and raids. We had a few raidleaders and they did a good job, until the guild grew too large and the DKP system "broke down". It was such high attendance on those raids that the members had an abundant amounts of DKP points. So, who gets priority on the loot? (In this story) The raidleaders got to decide, all good an well. Until....one day 2 officers got to bicker about a few items more or less vital to their main spec and their role as guild raidleaders. In the end one of them got so frustrated that he drove a car across US to visit the other officer, roughed him up really bad to set an example, then drove back home. This of course tore the guild apart and years later the toxicity of that event lingered in the general WoW community on that server. It´s a PvE server though.


Prophecy:

The individual able to solve these issues and set a standard in the gaming world, will be set for life. Mayhaps even be called a game guru. How about that.
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#9
(This post was last modified: 30 May, 12, 02:24 by Arcanix.)

(29 May, 12, 15:05)Kairos link Wrote:Come to think of it, how do we know that LOTRO’s economy isn’t already being manipulated by economists from the Harvard Business School running arcane experiments? Maybe those infamous gold-farmers are really MBAs, and all of us are nothing more than white mice running through a sophisticated economics simulation. A chilling thought.

When i played Starwars Combine (a textbased webbrowser RPG) the devs used that community as an ongoing psychology science project in their univeristy classes. (That game has been running since 1998 or was it 1996). They even told the community about it. In the end it didn´t matter if the people in the community knew about it or not their behavioral patterns didn´t change. Why? People invest alot of time and emotions into their avatars, ingame projects and plots etc. their IC and OOC reponses to events got blurry. Even more so due to the fact that this is a real RPG. Pride and emotional reasoning comes to mind.

No, it´s not just a game. It never is. You wouldn´t be addicted to the game if it was.

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