The rise of Ted Castronova and the study of Virtual Economies

by Alphaville Herald on 19/05/04 at 7:59 pm

Good to see our friend Ted Castronova featured in this article from Walrus Magazine. It is a really nice piece about how Ted resurrected his academic career when he started to think about virtual economies as real economies. Of course, I can’t resist pointing out that Ted was an interview subject in the AVH before Walrus teethed its first tusk. Also discussed in the article are our friends Jamie Hale, and Jeremy Chase (aka JC Soprano – who, according to the article has 100 or so soldiers under him. Things that make you go hmmmm).

Of course no article would be complete without a discussion of Urizenus and the termination of his account by Maxis, but each new story seems to jack up the story of Evangeline another notch. Now it’s a chain of cyberbrothels. Oh well, at least they were kind enough to point out the role that Jamie’s Gaming Open Market played in keeping Uri a Playa — likening that service to an offshore bank. Anyway, the article is by Clive Thompson, who also writes for the New York Times, Wired, and Details (a mag read by stylin’ mack daddies like Uri). Article has already been slash dotted , which has ground the Walus site to a halt, so you might want to look for it on Clive’s blog.

7 Responses to “The rise of Ted Castronova and the study of Virtual Economies”

  1. JC Soprano

    May 19th, 2004

    I said we had upwords to 100 members in the interview. It’s funny a photographer drove up 800 miles to take my picture for the article and it’s not even a paragraph really lolol Too funny, good times.

    JC Soprano
    I wonder who will talk crap first??

  2. Storm Armone

    May 20th, 2004

    lmao .. So much bs , ahh well

  3. TBT

    May 20th, 2004

    Do you really think someone actully drove 800 miles for a picture of you? LMAO Jeez NO! magazines and newspapers have reporters/photographers all over and if not they often hire freelance people to cover somewhere that they normally don’t do.. The person was probably someone local to you or not so far away, but 800 miles, I seriously doubt it, LOL….

  4. JC Soprano

    May 20th, 2004

    No, the photographer was from LA. Her and her bf drove up here, which is about an 8 hour drive. I know, I talked to them and The Walrus. What’s it matter anyway? I just thought it was funny.

    JC Soprano

  5. Dyerbrook

    May 20th, 2004

    *reads article, then takes out rag and wipes splatter off inner side of computer screen*. Um, Uri, you done with that, er self-run Sim yet?

  6. Urizenus

    May 20th, 2004

    Bug Tester, what do you care how far they drove to take JC’s picture? The point is they hired someone to do it. They didn’t come take my picture. Or yours either, I might add.

    Dyerbrook, you’ve crossed the line between cryptic and unintelligible. You’re on the other side now.

  7. humdog

    May 20th, 2004

    the point made by the walrus is a good point though: games generate real wealth for players.

    “…Then he performed one final analysis: The Gross National Product of EverQuest, measured by how much wealth all the players together created in a single year inside the game. It turned out to be $2,266 U.S. per capita. By World Bank rankings, that made EverQuest richer than India, Bulgaria, or China, and nearly as wealthy as Russia…”

    “…Twenty percent of players agreed with the cheeky (if alarming) statement “I live in Norrath but I travel outside of it regularly”; on average, each of these “residents” possessed virtual goods worth about $3,000 U.S. “When you consider that the average real-life income in America is only, like, thirty-seven thousand,” Castronova tells me, “you realize these people have a non-trivial amount of wealth locked up inside the games…”

    ‘…For now, there is no clear precedent on how to deal with virtual property. Owning a virtual castle is not like owning other virtual things, such as stock in a company, because the value is not in an external, tangible object such as a corporation, but in the work and money invested in acquiring it.

    With stakes like that, said Jack Balkin, a Yale law professor and a host of the legal conference, players will probably fight back with lawsuits, or by going right to politicians, demanding legislation to prevent worlds from closing down…’

    this is important stuff.

    could we keep our eyes on the ball, please, guys?

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