Skip to main content

Long read: The beauty and drama of video games and their clouds

"It's a little bit hard to work out without knowing the altitude of that dragon..."

If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

Everquest Platinum worth more than Yen

First study of Norrath's economy published - oh dear

In one of the more bizarre examples of university research we've come across, the Social Science Research Network has published an in-depth paper studying massively multiplayer games and, in particular, the economy of Norrath. The findings are certainly thought provoking, with the study concluding that Everquest's Platinum Piece is worth about one cent on average, somewhat more than the Japanese Yen. The bad news is that the economy is in a state of collapse, with 29% deflation in the last year and the currency devaluing faster than the Argentine Peso. Given the lack of taxes and interest rates in Norrath and an infinite supply of indestructible items, this is perhaps not surprising. Even more eye-opening though is the estimate of Norrath's Gross National Product as a staggering $135m a year, or more than $2,000 per capita (about on a par with Russia). Meanwhile a survey of players' characters revealed that their levelling and looting was earning them about $3.42 an hour on average. Playing full time would therefore earn you an annual "wage" of around $12,000. Of course, all of this is largely theoretical, as the vast majority of players don't auction off their avatars, cash and equipment, but it does make you wonder if Swedish developers Mind Ark (who are currently working on Project Entropia, a massively multiplayer game with a full economy, including the ability to exchange in-game and real world cash) might not be on to something after all... Related Feature - Project Entropia interview

Source - SSRN