Ask any economics student and they will tell you all about how money is created by banks and lending systems and what it does to our economy. However, the creators of online games and virtual worlds have also been instrumental in creating virtual money. From Linden dollars (that’s the currency used in Second Life) to World of Warcraft (WoW) gold, different virtual societies are driven by this virtual currency and interestingly end up with their own economic systems that model real-life economics really well.
Second Life uses a model that mimics real life, however, there are a number of MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) that use virtual money as reward and as a way to advance in the game. This has given rise to a massive industry in virtual goods and services that is predicted to hit $4 billion in 2008.
This has given rise to a wealth of possibilities for individuals and businesses working in these economies and reaping real world benefits. From people who develop and sell property in Second Life to companies who sell and buy WoW gold, there are hundreds of opportunities out there for people to tap into. All it takes is a spark of ingenuity and the drive to follow through with your ideas.
I remember reading an article about this in Time or one of the other magazines you find on the newstands. Does anyone remember which one it was?