Merry Virtual Christmas: $30 Million Spent on Virtual Items over Holidays

Virtual economies are the subject du jour for 2010, and the mainstream media is catching on. Could it be residual hype from the booming virtual goods market or something much more fundamental – a growing understanding that these worlds are more than mere games?

During a Christmas shopping season that disappointed most retailers, virtual goods sales had a banner year, moving tens of millions of dollars in digital loot and setting up for a solid 2010. Is the growth of the virtual goods market a long-term trend?

Pixels and Policy takes a look.

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Entropia Universe Sells Virtual Space Station for Record-Smashing $330,000

300px-Crystalp Earlier this week we wondered what 2010 might show for emerging and expanding virtual economies, especially those related to free-to-play (non-subscription) worlds like Second Life.

According to a recent report in the venerable Virtual Worlds News, the virtual economy is setting new records only a week into 2010 after a virtual region in Entropia Universe sold for over $330,000!

Pixels and Policy investigates.

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Is 2010 a Breakout Year for Virtual Economies?

A2(1) Thanks to enterprising social media developers, virtual economics hit the stratosphere in the second half of 2009. Companies like Zynga turned low-overhead, pay-for-premiums games like Farmville and Mafia Wars into a profit stream stretching into nine figures.

Can this fantastic growth in the value of virtual objects and virtual economies continue into 2010, or could developers be headed for their own virtual financial crisis?

Pixels and Policy does a little digging and takes a look at a recent Forbes interview with Slide CEO Max Levchin to assess the growth potential of the virtual economy in 2010.

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Why Are Virtual Currencies Deflating Across the Board?

Virtual-currency-exchange With both "free to play" and subscription virtual worlds expanding their memberships year-over-year, many analysts have found a productive hobby analyzing the fluctuations of various major Metaverse currencies.

Pixels and Policy takes a look at some work published by University of Manchester researcher Richard Heeks that purports to show a persistent devaluation of virtual currencies relative to the U.S. Dollar.

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Can Virtual Currencies Eclipse Real Currency?

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EVE Online's ISK: The currency of the future?

From FarmVille Dollars to the Evony Cent, nearly every virtual world, multiplayer game and online environment seems to be adopting synthetic currencies – the little tokens we happily give our real money to acquire.

Virtual currencies each have their own exchange rate, from L$250 to $1 in Second Life to 50 Evony Cents for $5 and everywhere in between. But once successful virtual currency company now claims the success of a virtual currency has little to do with its price.

Pixels and Policy investigates Cellufun's claim that content – not cost – is the prime indicator of a virtual currrency's success.

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