Vili Lehdonvirta and Edward Castronova, “Virtual Economies: Design and Analysis” (MIT, 2014)

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The continued growth of online gaming and virtual worlds has effects not only in the analog world, with games and social media organizations taking stock options public, but also in the worlds created online. Many games and platforms allow users to involve themselves in virtual labor, to own property, and most importantly to make purchases. This one of areas where the analog and virtual crossover. And the question for platform providers becomes how to capitalize on user interest while earning money. In the new book Virtual Economies: Design and Analysis (MIT 2014), Vili Lehdonvirta, a research fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute, at the University of Oxford and Edward Castronova, professor of communications and cognitive science at Indiana University provide a detailed examination of the underpinnings and motivations for the creation of virtual economies. Lehdonvirta and Castronova consider various international examples to provide a comprehensive look at the markets that continue to be embedded into all kinds of online, and offline, interactions.

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