An article posted a few hours ago on the CNN.com Tech site discusses the rise of virtual currency in the real-world economy. Although hardly the focus of the piece, the article mentions WoW. The author refers to gold selling as an example of virtual currencies and their impact on real world economies. The main focus of the article is to reveal the rise of virtual currencies in the real-world, which we feel is a very valid point. In fact, the mere existence of the WoWenomics blog is but one example of the rise in interest in the economies of virtual worlds and this sort of virtual currency trading.
The CNN article also refers to the virtual gold trade as a black market although we at WoWenomics, while still certainly not fans of the gold for cash industry, view it more as a gray market. This is exemplified simply by virtue of the fact that, while it is a violation of Blizzard’s ToS, the purchase of gold (and other virtual currencies) for cash is still technically legal.
Regardless, it is always interesting to see WoW, and specifically the world of WoWenomics, mentioned in the news. We would have to agree that there is certainly a growing interest in virtual economies from the general populace. We are hearing more and more from readers that are economists first and WoW players second (or sometimes, not players at all!). And we’ve even had a few peers that are in the finance business ask us about “this WoW stuff” from time to time. We even recently added a team member to the WoWenomics group that has never even played the game (or any video game for that matter). He is an economics professor and corporate bond trader by profession and has volunteered to help us out by commenting during our meetings on correlations between the economy of WoW and those of the real world. On his side of the trade, the benefit to joining our team is that he gains first-hand insight into the world of virtual currencies and how they are valued. Most interestingly, his comparisons are most often to the economies of developing nations which, of course, only further speaks to the fact that virtual world economics are on the rise.
Wouldn’t it be funny if all that time we’ve spent in the AH only helped us get better jobs in the future?