Crypto and Virtual Currencies
One of the most potent parts of an exciting virtual world or free-to-play game is the element of a virtual economy. Virtual economies allow players to buy clothes, weapons, equipment, power-ups, and other fun items to make their gameplay more enjoyable and personal. Players can also trade with other players for resources and items they cannot find or buy directly. Other players may have created or crafted these items and usually sell or trade them on the market or auction within the game. All of this is done with a default currency, the virtual currency.
Virtual currencies are the standard for these types of virtual world games and usually can’t be used or spent anywhere else. One difference that separates a perfect virtual world that includes a virtual economy is the ability to buy and sell or exchange the value of your assets and “cash out,” withdrawing your financial interest from the game.
Those that do it well
In previous posts within Planet Postmoderna History, I mentioned two virtual world games that used the concept of virtual economies very well. Both Mindark’s Entropia Universe and Linden Lab’s Second Life have actual virtual economies. Many other open-world and Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) Games have implemented in-game economies where players can buy and sell items on game auctions and marketplaces. But, they all lacked one key element, the ability to sell your assets and withdraw those funds in exchange for your real-world fiat currency. There are other virtual world economies out there, but the two that have historically done it well for years are still, in my opinion, Entropia Universe and Second Life.
The Postmoderna Advanced Economics Plan
The concept for the virtual world games made by this project quickly made it apparent that another element was needed to make the in-game currency work even more effectively. We wanted to make it so that real-world businesses could be linked to the virtual world. A player could spend their game currencies on products (e.g., products, travel, etc.) with these related companies. I imagined partnering with tour and travel companies that represented areas and regions designated in some of our game concepts.
An example would be Tour and Travel companies representing Mexico destinations would partner with us in the Aztec/Mayan virtual world instances. Players could accumulate game credits for in-game activities traded for perks with these companies. It seemed to me like a good idea back then. The other historical instances would be represented the same way (e.g., Asia, Europe, Polynesia, Mesoamerica, the Middle East, the Mediterranean, Mesopotamia, etc.). The challenge, of course, was pulling it off. There was a lot involved in working out credit arrangements, conversions, and more.
In 2012-2014 when I started thinking a lot of this, I had no idea what was on the horizon, namely, cryptocurrencies. Had I even had a glimpse into this potential future, I can’t help wondering what I would have done. In 2011 when Bitcoin was birthed, a chain of events started to make it possible to implement a virtual economy where the virtual currency could be a cryptocurrency. I am not going into the ins and outs and definitions of what a cryptocurrency is and is not in this article, but if you would like to learn more, here is a link to a related article on Investopedia.
What cryptocurrencies could mean for virtual worlds and games is that the in-game currency could also be based on accepted crypto that could be spent anywhere and anytime. Imagine a world where Bitcoin, for instance, could be earned within a game from virtual real estate investments (where a player owns virtual land) and spent in the real world to buy real estate in the “real world.” The player takes his wallet with Bitcoin, Litecoin, RavenCoin, Postmoderna Game Credits (:P), or whatever to a real estate broker who accepts Bitcoin or another crypto as a currency. I know this sounds out of this world, but we are closer to a world like that today. This opportunity did not exist when I first started working on the virtual world game concept.
Moving and Spending Forward
When I can move forward with the further development of the Master Virtual World Project, we will be looking at using a virtual currency that can be exchanged in the real world for value. Players will be able to buy, spend and earn a virtual asset that can potentially increase in value as the virtual world increases in value. Interesting concept to think about, huh?