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

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). He is the co-author of two books on game design and programming that are used as teaching materials in Korean universities. Taiyoung occassionally consults Western game developers on the item payment model, most recently doing a project for Ubisoft. At VERN, Taiyoung will be our resident expert on the Korean market, replacing Jun-Sok Huhh, who continues as a guest contributor.

Video: Take Down the First Mission, published by Hanbit Soft in Korea and Japan, 2007

Juha Tolvanen is our latest recruit to the virtual economy research team at HIIT, where he will be working on analysing massive amounts of virtual economy data in the AVEA project. Juha is a talented grad student with a gamer background, majoring in both economics and mathematics at Univesity of Helsinki. At VERN, Juha will most probably focus on internal economies and economic experiments, replacing our previous virtual economist Tuukka Lehtiniemi. I’ll let Juha tell more himself once he is settled down.

Also, we have recently published two excellent guest articles. Gamer, consultant and economics grad student Eino Joas asks whether secondary markets are profitable for item sales based businesses, seeking answers from existing work in mainstream microeconomics. Game security consultant, blogger and author Steven Davis provides an overview of game commerce from virtual item sales to gold farming. More guest articles featuring new, insightful perspectives to virtual goods, currencies and economies are in the pipeline.

VERN editors
Vili Lehdonvirta
Juho Hamari