Director of monetization: Economy 2.0?

About a year ago, a good friend of mine started developing an online gaming platform. The point was to create a place for several different game creators to host their games, increase their user base and allow for exchange of in-game currencies. We talked a lot about, and I thought even more about, how to create an in-game currency in a way that reflected use preferences, wouldn’t inflate or deflate too quickly, and ultimately, would earn my friend some real cash.

The platform is in beta now, and we never managed to formalize some of the things we’d hoped to test, but since then, we’ve exchanged lots of emails and articles about in-game economies, inflation, relative worth of found objects and more. Just last week, we had dinner and my friend asked whether I thought gaming companies employed economists to create in-game economies. Some, he contended, were incredibly realistic and well designed, others suffered from gluts of goods and all other sorts of problems. We got an answer fairly quickly. This month’s JOE (Job Openings for Economists) came out today and while flipping through it, I saw this notice, for a job at fiveoneninegames, looking rather conspicuous among the ads for financial analysts and visiting assistant professors.

The funniest part of all this, of course, is that I’ve never played one of these role-playing games. Bejeweled? Zuma’s Revenge? Sure, but I’m much more of a crossword and sudoku kind of girl. All the same, I’m really tempted to apply. Is that weird? The idea of having total control over an economy (even with a non random, selected set of participants in the game) sounds so appealing.

Okay, weird, I know. Back to running regressions.

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