Virtual Currencies for Virtual Reality Worlds
Virtual worlds in video games or virtual social platforms often include marketplaces for people to trade virtual objects with currency, digital currency.
Virtual & Digital Currencies Used in Virtual Worlds
That’s pretty much it, all virtual currencies are digital currencies because they are digitally stored, though the opposite is not true. Some digital currencies are actually representations of physical or ‘real’ currency supposedly store elsewhere, while virtual currencies only serve the purpose of facilitating transactions made within virtual worlds, otherwise, users would spend hours trying to trade objects with other objects of the same relative value.
There are many examples of virtual currencies being used in virtual worlds, one of the firsts was the Linden Dollar, a currency launched in 2003 exclusively used for the world famous Second Life virtual world. Avination was also a virtual place where people traded things, it had its own currency called $C’s, but the OpenSim Grid faced many difficulties and was officially shut down in March of 2017 after several long outages.
One of the most relevant virtual currencies used in the recent era was the Open Metaverse Currency (OMC), it was the first virtual currency used to buy goods and services in more than one virtual world. People from over 197 regions in more than 30 OpenSim grids still use OMC as their virtual currency and they can even exchange it for linden dollars or real currency.
Virtual Currencies in Major Online Multiplayer Video Games
Other popular uses for virtual currencies involve major online multiplayer video games such as EVE Online, World of Warcraft and now Minecraft.
EVE Online is probably the most amazing case, the video game has its own free market with prices depending entirely on the interaction of demand and supply for goods. Major battles between empires or factions often take place and the toll is not only big on ‘virtual’ lives but also huge ‘material’ or monetary loss. The biggest battle until now took place in 2014, costing around 11 trillion ISK, which is almost $330,000.
Eve doesn’t have a currency exchange market, so there is no official exchange rate, but people buy ‘Pilot extensions’ to get 30 days more of playing and they can sell these pilot extensions inside the videogame’s own market for ISK.
Why Eve doesn’t have its currency exchange market if it has so many people using and trading its currency. The answer lies in current legal regulations, if US authorities determine that this kind of currencies have a real value, they would consider these as an asset and video game companies would pay more taxes because of this.
That is the case of Blizzard’s World of Warcraft, the company tries very hard to make regulators believe that their virtual gold is ‘fake money’. Even though you can buy virtual currency with real money, these video game developers won’t allow you to do the opposite in fear of meddling with major legal issues.
Microsoft’s Minecraft is joining the Virtual Currency Party
Minecraft, the famous open world builder simulator bought by Microsoft, is the newest platform trying to incorporate virtual currency and a new marketplace. The idea is to provide businesses and creators the ability to sell their content to other players within the game.
“The idea is to give Minecraft creators another way to make a living from the game, allowing them to support themselves in the creation of ever-greater projects, while giving Pocket and Windows 10 players access to a growing catalog of fun stuff – curated and supplied by us, safely and simply. And, of course, you can still manually download free community creations you’ve found out there on the internet, too.” Said Microsoft in an open statement.
Microsoft will be implementing Minecraft Coins and this must no bet overlooked, it not only represents the need for currencies and exchanges in virtual worlds. This means that our virtual interactions are becoming more social and deeper than ever before. The need for a market and a currency is a way to say that virtual worlds are now entering civilization, with norms, money, social aspects and more. Virtual Worlds are becoming more real every day.