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

Virtual asset sales

Significant increases to Second Life land prices

Second Life Island Store Linden Lab announced a week ago that official land prices in the virtual world Second Life will receive a boost. Currently Linden Lab is renting out 16-acre small private islands to users for a one-time set-up fee of 1250 USD plus a monthly maintenance fee of 195 USD. After the change is implemented, the set-up fee for newly rented small islands will be 1675 USD (a 34% increase) and maintenance fee 295 USD (a 51% increase).

In an interview by CNET, Linden Lab’s new CFO John Zdanowski states that the purpose of the price hike is to make renting out land profitable to the company. According to Zdanowski, seven-year-old Linden Lab has yet to turn in a profit. But due to negative feedback from users, the hike is now delayed until November 15th.  Read more

Making sense of virtual property research

VERN is a forum for research on real-money trade of virtual property, but what exactly does that area comprise? There are over 50 entries in the bibliography, from economic analysis to policy studies — is there any pattern or consistency to this 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