Virtual economies will solve the real world issues
Recently – virtual currencies and economies started gaining global interest, due to their impact to the real world economy. Virtual currency “Bitcoin” has became a billion dollar industry by providing people with anonymous money transfers. Businesses that offer to exchange real money for virtual commodities is booming. Currently it’s a multi-billion dollar industry. People are converting their cash into gold coins, health potions, armour, resources etc. But, probably the most important and influential are the in-game economies.
WOW (world of warcraft) is one of the most popular online games in the world. Having over 7 million subscribers and running 10+ years – they have built a highly active virtual economy. Obviously, there’s no such thing as a perfect economy, even in a fantasy world. Players, that have been playing since the inception have accumulated insane amounts of money – so there’s the wealth gap. In-game commodities, that are being sold in auctions, have an ever growing price tag – there’s the inflation. Advanced players are offering newbies “protection” (which they never get) in exchange for money – there’s the organized crime. Although they are not allowed by the game developer – players are buying commodities offline, for real money – and there’s the black market. All this is happening in a fantasy game, where players are killing giant bores and spiders. Lots of familiar real-world problems in a virtual economy. Border between real and virtual is becoming vague.
Whats even more interesting – are the solutions proposed by the games players for solving the abovementioned issues. There are numerous forum posts, blogs, websites etc. that are debating and looking for ways to solve them. Game developers act a government and are constantly trying to adapt the proposed solutions to fix the arising issues. Financial analysts are highly interested in virtual economies, because they’re becoming a great resource for solutions, that will help us fix the real world economic problems. And they don’t even have to do anything – just sit back, relax and let the crowd solve all the problems.
A great way to speed up this process, would be applying the real world issues inside a real world economic simulation. Simfomer Business Simulation has gathered over a million players. The community mostly consists of businessmen, economists, mid to high level managers, various students etc. They are attracted by a highly realistic virtual business world, that’s fully dependant on it’s players. Each player has to make difficult choices – what industry should he choose, what type of enterprise, which country, city and district should he select for his company, the amount and the qualification of his employees, size of their salary and so on. Politics, taxes, location, demographics, logistics etc. – all these factors highly influence every business operated in the region. The percentage of extremely wealthy businesses, to ones going bankrupt strongly correlates with the data we get from analysts.
Having such a resource – it becomes obvious, that even the most drastic situations like financial crisis, default etc. can be tested on a virtual community, without any peril. Currently, due to the high risk of failure and a big probability of chain reactions, very little is being done when it comes to experimenting – countries trust speculated outcomes and rely on the “old school” solutions, that fail to achieve any significant results in the long run. Sometimes they manage to patch things up and our global economy regains it’s “house of cards” stability. With the high customisation level, inside the simulation, it’s possible to find the most relevant solutions and test their longevity and stability 10 times faster, without shooting ourselves in the leg.
Players have proven themselves to be more that capable in finding the right answers to the arising issues. They are attracted by the challenge and with a proper cooperation from governments – they,a as a community, could help fix our worlds financial issues.
“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them” Aristotle