If you could make millions from virtual trading, would you do it? Unfortunately for you, this isn't quite yet a legal possibility, but it's certainly occurring in the virtual economy black market.
At the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in Berlin on Wednesday, Klang Games co-founder Mundi Vondi and Paul Murphy from venture capital investment firm, Northzone, spoke about the future of a virtual economy.
The interesting twist is that the focus was on video games.
What are gaming virtual economies?
Many gamers exchange goods for money. Real money for virtual products. What Vondi and Murphy talked about at TechCrunch Disrupt this week in Berlin, Germany was the importance of this virtual economy from online games.
It may seem like virtual goods are a dystopian and abstract point, too distant a thing of the future to worry about. However, as Murphy pointed out, we already pay money for virtual goods.
Take Spotify and Netflix, two of the biggest online companies of our day. Millions of people worldwide pay for a virtual subscription to both of these companies. So why is this not happening in the gaming world?
Vondi and Murphy pointed out that this gaming virtual economy is already happening, and making millionaires out of people globally. However, there is no legal framework behind it, it's all on the black market.
For Vondi and Murphy, the virtual world is many people's social community nowadays, and there are millions of people around the world who spend big chunks of their time in the virtual world, so why not earn money for exchanging goods on these platforms too?
How would you make money from a virtual gaming economy?
It's a known fact that in games such as World of Warcraft some players spend hours, days, and even weeks building up characters or playing repetitive but necessary parts of a game in exchange for money.
Vondi and Murphy said that in order for a virtual economy to function in the gaming world you need to provide three things:
- Vanity: gamers will pay for their characters to look good
- Time: gamers will pay for someone to play repetitive tasks to move them up levels
- Improve their skills: gamers will pay for someone to create a skilled player
If you can offer one or all of these things, gamers will pay good money. However, with no legal framework, there can be no proper exchange.
Until then, it'll continue being a black market affair.