Real economics in virtual worlds

This is a really interesting article on hyperinflation that’s been gripping the world of Diablo 3 recently:

But in the last few months, various outposts in that world — Silver City and New Tristram, to name two — have borne more in common with real world places like Harare, Zimbabwe in 2007 or Berlin in 1923 than with Dante’s Inferno. A culmination of a series of unanticipated circumstances — and, finally, a most unfortunate programming bug — has over the last few weeks produced a new and unforeseen dimension of hellishness within Diablo 3: hyperinflation.

As an example, the price of a Radiant Star Amethyst went from 41.2 million to 85.8 million in just a couple of days.

Amazing to see the causes laid out so clearly.  There are lessons for real-world economists in this case.  The actions taken by Blizzard, the game’s developer, seem to have added some stability, but at the expense of some very angry players.

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