It’s amazing to think about all of my little accomplishments in this new world. The things I have built, the people I have met, the events I have attended. So much potential is here for this platform to become more then what it is. To think that all content within this world is made by players.
About two years ago, my mother in-law was astonished that my wife wanted to buy an in-world item on one of these online games for real money. It was a very rare axe that was hard for the best grand master blacksmiths to forge. On top of that, the price was a whopping $40 in US currency. “But it’s not real!”, she would say. I would check in from time to time and find that my wife was still hacking away with that axe from time to time that she had purchased.
Today, games have gone much further. In Second Life, You can build your own objects from scratch in-world and sell them at any price you see fit. You also retain rites on that item. In-game skill systems are a thing of the past, as now you apply your own real skills in 3D design, animation, interior decorating, fashion design, graphic design, programming, advertising & marketing, socializing, management, and more. The list just keeps going. These new games are bringing the real world inside of there own worlds.
The main incentive is that you can make real money. Anyone can cash-out any money that they have made in-world. For second life, the value of your in-game currency can change by the minute just like the real stock exchange. Other players make bids for how much they are willing to pay for in-game currency. You can also create sell orders that are limited so that you can sell them at a set price.
This tends to effect the in-world economy, as the US dollar value of items that you sell fluctuates. Something that is worth about a dollar today, and end up being worth only fifty cents with tomorrows rates.
Some of us residents have gotten around this by adjusting the prices of our in-world items according to the rate of the dollar against the in-world currency. When there is a problem, someone is always making something to help the players solve it.
Problem solving is the really amazing part of these games. People who are not employed by the company are building the content of the game. Some of the content addresses problems. Find a need, and all you do from there is build something to answer that need. Then people buy it from you at your own set price.
There are thousands of people actually building content every day. The host of the world does not pay those people. In fact, those people pay the host for the privledge to show off there builds on there own rented out land. Every way that you look at it, it seems that the residents in this world are paying variouse amounts to do specific tasks or earn specific privledges.
It must be working, because the game that I’m playing, “Second Life”, has actually been around for over five years. Staff has grown quite a bit and there are usually over one thousand people in-world.