News, research and discussion on virtual goods, currencies and economies globally.

Calls and events

Speaking at Virtual Goods Forum 2010

I will be giving a presentation on virtual goods business models and how to describe them using academic business model frameworks at Virtual Goods Forum 2010 in London June 23th.

If you wish to meet, please drop me a line to the address found here.  Read more

AVEA Seminar on Research in Virtual Economies

June 8, 2010
12:00 to 16:00
Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Seminar room
Helsinki, Finland

On Tuesday, 8 June 2010, Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT is organising an open seminar on research in so-called virtual economies. Online gaming, virtual goods sales and the convergence of games and social networking sites are radically changing the operating environment for consumer facing online businesses. Understanding user behaviour and different business models as well as the ability to collect and analyse data are emerging as crucial success factors. This seminar will provide a scholarly perspective to these topics by presenting findings from AVEA, a Tekes funded research project. Please find the programme of the seminar below.  Read more

JVWR issue on virtual economies, goods and service delivery published

The Journal of Virtual Worlds Research has published its latest issue (volume 2, issue 4) titled Virtual Economies, Virtual Goods and Service Delivery in Virtual Worlds. Official announcement and list of articles below the fold.

In other news, slides from my presentation at the Game Developers Conference 2010 Social & Online Games Summit are now online: Why Do People Buy Virtual Goods? Ten Attributes That Influence Item Desirability. The room was packed and I hope the audience got what they wanted. Feedback welcome!  Read more

Virtual Economy Research Network @ GDC 2010

Juho Hamari and Vili Lehdonvirta of Virtual Economy Research Network / HIIT will be attending Game Developer’s Conference 2010 for the whole of next week.

Looking forward to seeing you there.

Contact us here and let’s schedule a meeting.  Read more

Call for Papers: Games Research Methods seminar in Finland

The Games Research Lab at the University of Tampere, Finland has issued a call for papers for its sixth annual game studies working paper seminar. The call is available here. I am posting this here because the seminar has previously had some interesting MMO related content.  Read more

15% discount – Engage! Expo

Tomorrow (Aug 14th) is the last day to register with the earlybird registration fee and with a code VERNVIP you’ll get additional 15% off. (The code will work after the earlybird registration deadline as well).

The two-day Engage! Expo comprises four parallel events: Social Media Strategies, Virtual Goods Conference, Digital Law Conference, and 3D Training, Learning and Collaboration (3DTLC) Conference.

Our very own Vili Lehdonvirta will be speaking at the first session of the virtual goods track – ” Analyze This: The Virtual Goods Marketplace & State of The Industry”.

Overview of the schedules.   Read more

"I have an avatar therefore I exist" – Virtual commerce special issue @ Electronic Commerce Research

I added papers published in Electronic Commerce Research journal’s special issue "I have an avatar therefore I exist" into the VERN bibliography.



Meredith A., Hussain Z., Griffiths M.D. (2009).  Online gaming: a scoping study of massively multi-player online role playing games.  Electronic Commerce Research. 9(1-2), 3 – 26. Link

Bryceson K.P. (2009).  The development of VAG — a 3D virtual agribusiness environment and strategy game.  Electronic Commerce Research. 9(1-2), 27 – 47. Link

Cagnina M., Poian M. (2009).  Beyond e-business models: the road to virtual worlds.  Electronic Commerce Research. 9(1-2), 49 – 75. Link

Guo Y., Barnes S. (2009).  Virtual item purchase behavior in virtual worlds: an exploratory investigation.  Electronic Commerce Research. 9(1-2), 77 – 96. Link

Lehdonvirta V. (2009).  Virtual Item Sales as a Revenue Model: Identifying Attributes That Drive Purchase Decisions.  Electronic Commerce Research. 9(1-2), 97-113. Link

Goel L., Prokopec S. (2009).  If you build it will they come? — An empirical investigation of consumer perceptions and strategy in virtual worlds.  Electronic Commerce Research. 9(1-2), 115 – 134. Link

Bourlakis M., Papagiannidis S., Li F. (2009).  Retail spatial evolution: paving the way from traditional to metaverse retailing.  Electronic Commerce Research. 9(1-2), 135 – 148. Link   Read more

State of Play VI ++



– State of Play VI – We’ll be there


– VERN Facebook group – Join


June 19-20, 2009: The State of Play VI Conference A Conference on the Serious Study of Virtual Worlds On June 19-20, 2009, New York Law School’s State of Play Conference will convene in New York to examine the past, present and future of virtual worlds. In conjunction with the University of Southern California Network Culture Project at the Annenberg School for Communication, and with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the conference will focus on the startling rise of virtual worlds and multiplayer online games, and ask whether these worlds have reached a plateau in their development. At the same time we will question whether we have reached a limit in our understanding of these worlds, and ask whether there are useful research questions still left to pursue.

Please visit for more information.   Read more

New contributors and guests at the VERN blog

Taiyoung Ryu's Love CatchWe are happy to welcome two new regular contributors to the VERN blog: Taiyoung Ryu and Juha Tolvanen. Welcome!

Taiyoung Ryu is doing research on the design of micro-transaction business models, especially virtual goods, as a graduate student at the Interactive Media Division at University of Southern California USC. He has presented at GDC and DiGRA, and his advice for developers has been published in the Game Developer Magazine. Before joining USC, Taiyoung had a successful career as a game designer in the Korean game industry and is credited as Lead Designer in six titles, including mobile, casual online and online FPS (see video below).  Read more