Free-to-Play Developers Drive Boom in Virtual Commerce

According to the industry news source GamesBeat – an offshoot of VentureBeat – cash transactions for virtual goods are booming, with pay-to-play MMORPG's like World of Warcraft surprisingly knocked out of first place by a surprise challenger.

Pixels and Policy explores the stats behind the claim, and why the biggest commercial growth isn't in the big-name worlds you might imagine.

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Audi Markets Real Car Through Virtual Test Drives

AudiE-Tron_game

         
Audi's electric R8: very very virtual

The old stereotype of the slick-haired, cheap-suited car dealer may be coming to an end, if German carmaker Audi has anything to say about it.

That's because this clever Volkswagen subsidiary is marketing their new electric Audi R8 by letting online gamers test drive it in a fantasy racing game.

Pixels and Policy investigates.

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Virtual Economy Booms; Real Economy Busts

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The future world reserve currency?

Second Life may know something we don't, if this morning's report from the disconcertingly-titled Manolith is any indication.

It appears the economy of Second Life has surpassed that of the real world by a large margin, as the real-world recession fails to penetrate the confines of the Metaverse. Investors wiped out by the subprime mortgage scandals may want to pay attention.

The mad scientists at Linden Lab report stunning growth in the virtual world, with Linden – and real – Dollars flying out of wallets to the tune of $50 million per month.

That makes the locked-up credit markets of developed nations seem flimsy by comparison, with high interest rates choking real-world borrowing. Read on to learn how virtual economies are evading the real-world financial fallout.

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