Wednesday, April 07, 2004

of shards and $5 million in virtual goods

For those who are familiar with MMORPG's (massively multiplayer online role playing games), you know that those online realities are divided into various subpopulations, or "shards." Each shard is represented by a separate server and name. Some games, such as EverQuest and now Ultima Online allow cross-server transfer of avatars for a price. It appears, however, that in the next generation of MMORPG's dividing the population by shard may be unnecessary because of advances in server technology. Sun has announced a new server specifically intended for online gaming. Perhaps MMORPG's are going to be even more 'massive' in the future. Julian Dibbell points out in this post at Terra Nova, however, that perhaps shards are necessary due to the rise of the cost of content creation per player and not due to technical limitations. We shall see.
Via Terra Nova.

Another recent post on Terra Nova, this one by Edward Castronova, states that sales of virtual items on eBay has risen by 9% this most recent quarter to reach $5.85 million. Keep in mind that this is payout for items with no physical properties over a period of only 3 months! Unbelievable. Edward Castronova is an Associate Professor of Economics at Cal State Fullerton and conducts research on virtual worlds and their economies, very cool stuff.
Via Terra Nova.

I should note that I heard both Edward Castronova and Julian Dibbell speak at the recent State of Play conference, both of them were very interesting and engaging, more about them later.


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