Game talkVirtual Goods presentations

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Oct 302009
 

Slideshows from the Virtual Goods Summit are starting to pop up, and here two that I found so far:

Virtual Goods: Why & How They Work by Amy Jo Kim, all about them motivations behind virtual goods purchases.

A nicely detailed deck by William Grosso of LiveGamer on Managing a Virtual Economy that has plenty of concrete advice.

  4 Responses to “Virtual Goods presentations”

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  2. Not sure if this has been linked yet:
    http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=25887

    It’s Gamasutra tho’, so you might’ve read it already.

    But basically — Asian virtual goods market is worth between 5 and 7 billion dollars… today! Insane.

  3. http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/10/31/scamville-the-social-gaming-ecosystem-of-hell/

    Thought I’d post this here. While I hope Tech Crunch readers know enough to distinguish between the good and bad practices on social site’s like Facebook, what I really hope is that the idea that social gaming revenue models are scams doesn’t get applied to MMOs. I’ve been a victim of the IQ cell phone number scam when I was first new to Facebook and I consider myself a savvy Internet user. Unfortunately for the more legitimate companies on Facebook, I’ll never use another Facebook application again until their screen that instructs me to give access to my profile to an application has more granularity. I’ve been burned once and won’t get burned again.

    That said the author’s rant is mostly uncalled for even if his examples are true. The same rant could be said about email or any of many different types of revenue models. Where there’s money, there will be scams. What has me more concerned is that some VCs take this and use it as a launch pad to declare “we don’t invest in these businesses”. Facebook, like it or not is the beacon of social web applications and it needs to clean up it’s third party supplier chain, real or perceived, for the good of the industry.

    http://babblingvc.typepad.com/pjozefak/2009/11/why-are-there-simply-deals-we-wont-do.html

  4. I’m going to dispute one item in that presentation for sure, and that’s the idea that “if you have lots of transactions your economy is healthy”.

    This sort of game-god system-view take on an economy doesn’t really tell you whether the economy is healthy *for people* and ultimately, if it is not healthy for people, it dies or gets overthrown, and partly that’s why you see MMORPEG malaise in economies and constant efforts by game-gods to make items scarce, remove scarce items, reprice items, etc.

    Whenever gurus analyze economies like these, they seem to pride themselves on being like China, heavily controlling the economy and making arbitrary decisions, or doing things like printing currency out of thin air, like many third-world countries.

    To be sure, these are game economies meant to be closed, and perhaps Richard Bartle would insist that they keep to Chinese-style neocommunist policies to be viable.

    Second Life has an artificial economy that has many of the problems of MMORPGs, complete with rares and auction house mispricing and exploitation of newbs and all the rest (see the rare chicken eggs for example).

    The Lindens just bragged again that because they had a lot of transactions, they had a healthy economy; they are all gamers at heart and as a company town gravitate toward Chinese-like solutions.

    However, I don’t think you have to be a Nobel prize winner in economis to show that lots of transactions isn’t always health. Leave aside all the transactions that inflate the numbers like undeeding TVs, and look at the transactions that show other things:

    o land dumping
    o business-in-a-box, i.e. theft of others’ designs and quick sale
    o yard-saling to get rid of inventory before quitting
    o cashouts
    o hustling of 50 Linden Fridays etc to try to have volume to make up for lost sales

    Every time someone complains about the cashouts (and non-returns) as being a cause for worry, a smart-aleck is available to tell you, but somebody else bought their Lindens on the LindEx currency exchange, or somebody else bought that land, or somebody else bought the used lamp or old chicken at the auction.

    But…overall, that isn’t health, when there is a constant high churn and constant atrition as people come and play for 30 days and move out. It isn’t building up civilization if you have an endless metaversal flea market in which most people are desperate and exploited and only a few people get rich and one uber-oligarch gets to keep all the currency exchange fees and cashout fees.

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