How Modern Gaming Developed a Virtual Economy

One of the holy grails of online gaming has been the way that software developers have constantly sought to add a greater sense of realism to a game. And whilst there have been many successful examples of realistic violence and sporting simulations, when it comes to introducing financial concepts, things have tended to be a little more shaky.

But recently there has been a succession of games that have made impressive efforts to introduce a virtual economy with massively-multiplayer online role-playing games and online casino sites enjoying particular success.

It was with the rapid rise of World of Warcraft that gaming commentators first noticed the trend of players using in-game currency to further their gaming cause. By using gold, silver and copper coins to get better equipment, it quickly led to the point where players started trading in the virtual world simply in order to accumulate more wealth.

And such a remarkable realization quickly brought about swathes of websites dedicated to dealing in WoW gold with many online guides offering the best tips for trading in this virtual currency.

These advances were quickly followed up by the likes of Second Life that presented the gamer with a virtual world featuring the Linden dollar that could be interchanged with real-world money.

The rise of in-game money and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin has not gone unnoticed by many economic commentators. And when the popular MMORPG Runescape introduced its own in-game version of roulette to facilitate gambling, it was just another example of how money has infiltrated the gaming world.

Such moves can also be seen in the rise of online casino sites like LadyLucks that offer players the chance to make deposits and receive payouts on their digital games of slots and poker. And with such sites regularly hosting lucrative competitions with tournament rules applied to roulette games, it becomes clear just how much the boundaries are blurring between online gaming and real-life finances.

Some gaming companies have been particularly inventive when it comes to implementing virtual economies into a game. The Counter-Strike series has developed its own ‘crates’ system where players can buy a key and unlock a crate that contains a gun or a skin to aid their violent conquest.

And when even sci-fi strategy games like Starcraft II start utilizing simple economics to add to its competitive gaming prize winnings, it’s clear that modern day gaming just got a lot more financially complex.

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