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July 27, 2009

EVE Online ISK

Crisper considers the broader implications of the second life of the ISK (Icelandic króna) as the official medium of exchange for EVE Online. Brilliant. Seriously, I love this.

EVE Online has its own in-game currency. Virtually all such games do. And with in-game currency comes real-world speculation - because if there's one thing every multiplayer internet game develops, it's a market in which people with real-world money can acquire whatever they want in the game by simply paying someone else for it. Warcraft has "gold farmers", players who play the game for no other reason than to amass wealth that is then sold in huge batches for cash through eBay-like channels. It's their job - quite literally in many cases, especially in China, where entire facilities are staffed around the clock with game-players who play all day and all night to earn the rare items and mountains of money, so that their boss can then sell it all to Westerners who just want to win without actually playing first.

The in-game currency of EVE Online is the ISK. That's right, the Icelandic króna. And where most multiplayer games have attempted to ban the translation of in-game assets to and from real-world money, EVE Online has not only permitted it but actively embraced it - so much so that daily speculation on world/game financial leverage is conducted openly on the official game web boards. As a result, the EVE Online ISK has remained fairly stable against virtually all the real currencies of the world for a few years now, fluctuating but not spiking, not crashing. There are people out there making an income, a real-life income, just handling the trades on the "floor".

All of which is to say: Iceland has collapsed so thoroughly that at this point, its only economically viable export may very well be an internet spaceship game, and that internet spaceship game's króna is for all intents and purposes a more real and valid and valuable currency than the actual country's actual money.

Time for Canada to consider turning to the gold standard.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at July 27, 2009 08:48 AM