The Virtues of Virtual Craft
Earlier this week, I blogged about a roommate that I had who spent all of his waking hours playing "Ultima" online. When I learned about online gaming, I was shocked to find out that players could spend huge amounts of time online apprenticing with artisans and tradesmen, then creating virtual craft items. Not only can you trade characters and items for virtual value, but you can also auction them on eBay for real money. I read somewhere that people can spend thousands of dollars for players that have advanced to a high level. Make editor Phillip Torrone put up a posting on MAKE Blog this morning about his wife's artisanal efforts in games like "World of Warcraft". They put together a how-to video demonstrating some techniques and strategies.
A few years ago, I stumbled across a research paper called Virtual Worlds: A First-Hand Account of Market and Society on the Cyberian Frontier by Edward Castronova. Mr. Castronova is an economist who became fascinated by parallels between virtual economies and our real one. Cha-CHING!