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Cory Doctorow’s Observations on Real Money Generation in Games

April 16th, 2009 | Posted by Spencer Greenwood in Link-out

In his column at The Guardian today, blogger, novelist and technology activist Cory Doctorow claims that the ability of a player to make money from the time they invest in an MMO has become not only a key marketing point for the developers of such games, but an important part of the realisation of a virtual world. In his own words:

Many games are structured to reward time spent playing with virtual gold stars that act as decoration and play aid, and confer virtual bragging rights. So it’s a sign of a game’s success when one player values a virtual item so much that she’s willing to pay another player for the object, even though it is nothing more than a record in a database.

It is especially interesting to observe this issue from Doctorow’s perspective. For him, the issue forms part of a broader context of the struggle between the existing legal framework of the West and the increasingly convoluted copyright infringements which have become a daily occurrence on the web.

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2 Responses

  • That’s a great piece from Mr. Doctorow.

    There was an Australian developed FPS called “Kimari” (I think) that involved real money in its game – basically everything in it cost something like 1c or less, including every bullet and every power-up. If you won fights, you gained the money lost by other players, but if you didn’t…

    I saw some analysis of the game’s players broken down, which showed that only the top 3-5 players had actually “made” any money from the game, and everyone else had only lost money. Like gambling, but with guns!

    It’s closed now, because it didn’t do so well.

  • I prefer to be called ‘cash-strapped’ instead of a ‘cheapskate.’ =)



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