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

Calls and events

Publishing opportunities


Savvas Papagiannidis of Newcastle University would like to remind us that the deadline for the virtual worlds special issue of Electronic Commerce Research, a Springer journal, has been extended to 31 May 2008. The special issue call can be found here. I blogged about the original call here.  Read more

MMORPGs and the item payment revenue model at DiGRA 2007

DiGRA Japan logo Digital Game Research Association DiGRA is the main global organisation for ludologists and other scholars studying digital games. Last September I attended the DiGRA 2007: Situated Play conference in Tokyo. It was a surprisingly large and well-organised conference, and featured over a hundred paper presentations on a very diverse set of topics, including some related to virtual economies.  Read more

EVE Online Fanfest, QEN, and research co-operation with CCP

The fourth EVE Fanfest, an event giving the EVE Online players an opportunity to meet each other and the game developers, was held in Reykjavik 1. - 3. November. There were two interesting revelations in the event, which also sparked discussion in panels and roundtables, a part of which I’ll try to summarize here. The first one had to with a soon-to-be-published white paper on the EVE player democracy, and why it actually might not be wise to call it democracy after all. The second was about the soon-to-be-published EVE Online Quarterly Economics Newsletter, Vol.1, No.1.  Read more

Academic journals publish special issues on virtual worlds


I am late in relaying this, but Electronic Commerce Research and Journal of Electronic Commerce Research are both planning a special issue on virtual worlds. The CFPs (attached below) sent to the VERN mailing list are so similar that at first glance I thought it was the same journal. JECR's deadline is this Thursday already, but you might consider submitting a modified conference paper. ECR's deadline is December 1st. Both issues should come out in August 2008.  Read more

Bridging East and West at Game Developers' Conference China


I'm writing this at Shanghai Oriental Riverside Hotel, where the first ever Game Developers' Conference China has just ended. By all accounts the event was a success: there were over 2000 visitors at the exhibition and some 800 attendees at the conference. The exhibition part was largely about outsourcing, recruitment and training, but also showcased neat Asian titles like the phenomenally popular online dancing game Audition. All the big Chinee MMO companies were present, as well as EA, Ubisoft, CCP and others.

For me GDC China was particularly interesting because of the emphasis on online gaming typical of China. I was able to contrast the more theoretical musings of State of Play V last week with practical insights from game developers. For example, there were discussions on how to make Chinese titles palatable to the Western audience and vice versa; World of Warcraft's big success here shows that it's possible. This is a practical approach to "bridging the East and West" that SoP V called for but didn't yet deliver so much.  Read more

State of Play V is over


State of Play V I'm writing this at Singapore's Marina Mandarin Hotel, where the State of Play V conference has just finished. In all aspects the conference managed to exceeded my high expectations. There were several interesting panels with some new and suprising speakers, new ideas and even some critical analysis.  Read more

Meetings in meatspace


Japanese sukiyaki meat -- photo by LHOON Despite the achievements in immersive virtual worlds and other network-mediated communication, for many purposes there still is no substitute to being there in person. I think this is especially true when making new contacts and when cultural boundaries are crossed. Here is a brief review of som

e upcoming events.  Read more

Human resources


In my last post, I said I would have a small announcement to make. Well, here it is: our research group at Helsinki Institute for Information Technology has welcomed two new economics grad students to work on virtual economy issues. In the coming weeks, Tuukka Lehtiniemi and Jiaping Xu will be blogging here about their research and things taking place in the field. Let's wish them success in their work.  Read more

Virtual trinkets and advertising combine in IRC-Galleria

Yesterday's seminar was a great success, thanks to all who participated. A video recording of the presentations is now available through here.

Star Wreck's Captain Pirk -trinket at IRC-Galleria One of the themes was what creates demand for virtual property. For MMORPGs, Professor Sang-Min Whang showed us data from Lineage that linked property value with time required to obtain it. In the social virtual world Habbo Hotel, Sulka Haro told us how Sulake time-limits the supply of certain items to create valuable rares. Sulake does not profit from this directly, as they sell the to-be rares at a mere 4 euros when they are available. However, it makes Habbo's "economic game" of barter exchange more interesting and raises prices in the budding secondary market.  Read more

Live webcast for VERN mini-seminar on item payment revenue models

Next Tuesday's (Sept. 26) next mini-seminar on massively-multi user services and item payment revenue models will be streamed live over the web. Those watching the stream will be able to take part in the discussion using a chat interface. After the seminar, the video will be available for download.  Read more