May 10, 2005

Games, P2P and currency ...

It's not often we see Finance layer thoughts out there. Here's a fascinating snippet:

Take "Second Life," the virtual world created by Linden Labs. Rather than offer a traditional game environment like "EverQuest," it provides a growing world in which inhabitants can build their own homes, create their own "in-game" games, run businesses or do pretty much anything else that strikes their fancy.

"Second Life" has 28,000 people online today, and some inhabitants are already making more than $100,000 a year in real-world money by selling digital wares constructed inside the world or running full-fledged role-playing games.

"Second Life" is built on a distributed model, in which numerous servers are connected together, each one representing about 16 acres of land in the digital world. Those patches of digital space are seamlessly connected together to create the world as experienced by visitors.

Today, all of those servers are run by Linden Labs, but the world was built to ultimately support a peer-to-peer model, where players might add their own 16-acre plot into the world from their own computer, said Linden Labs' chief executive officer, Philip Rosedale. For security reasons--including the fact that a real currency is traded inside the world--the company hasn't taken that step yet, however.


Posted by iang at May 10, 2005 11:41 AM | TrackBack

There's nothing new nor surprising here. The most popular on-line currency (actually, a set of currencies) of the Russian-speaking world, WebMoney, has its humble origins as an in-game currency of a similar, open-ended virtual reality:
Although most of the virtual businesses turned out to be casinos.

Being in the right place at the right time, they fully exploited the comprehensive financial meltdown of 1998 in Russia to their advantage.

By now, webmoney is by far the most accepted currency among Russian-speakers and their operators can afford to buy banks in the baltic states for the sole purpose of conforming with EU regulations. They have their own ATM (debit-) cards, and most Russian cellphone and satellite TV operators accept payment in their currency as do large on-line retailers, like (the largest Russian internet-bookstore).

Legally, they are an escrow service and typically, their currencies are 100% backed in cash at all times.

P. S. My own project, ePointSystem, has also been initially developed as an in-game payment system for an open-ended on-line game. The game project was pretty much abandoned, but the payment component lives on.

Posted by: Daniel A. Nagy at May 10, 2005 06:03 PM
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