Mike referred me to an interesting article that discusses the the
economics of mulitplayer online role-playing gaming. This article by
Julian Dibbell was published in Wired in Jan 2003.
A more thorough and much clearer article on the subject written by
Clive Thompson is online at walrusmagazine.com. I recommend this
article as a very readable and thoughtful introduction to this subject.
The economics professor Edward Castronova wrote an internet article
on the economics of the virtual worlds found in these internet games
in December 2001 that, according to Thompson, soon topped the charts
in internet downloads. This was the first serious analysis of this
phenomena and it apparently rocked the internet gaming community.
Here is another article by Castronova.
This wikipedia entry has other good links, including Castronova's website.
Amazon has an ad for Castronova's recent book "Synthetic Culture: The
Business and Culture of Online Games."
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