The e-economy based on nothing

Photo from Creative Commons

Photo from Creative Commons

Games like Farmville, Frontierville and their many variant recombinations that are intended to prey upon the bored who frequent Facebook, have created a growing economy. This economy is based on nothing; they provide no actual product or service, yet it has become a big money industry. What they do provide are in-game items, some of which provide perks, many of which that don’t and merely serve as a sort of in-game status symbol to other players. How does one gain these claims to fame? They merely need to work hard in the game to get them or simply add a little real world money behind their actions.

The e-economy is growing, and it is growing fast as more and more people play Facebook games. Facebook has even gone as far as creating its own token system which people can then use in the many flash games to purchase items. Tokens, like most things, are purchased through real money and then can be exchanged for either in-game money or items. This should tell users just how large of an economic impact their few dollars here and there are really having since an entire company shifted its website layout to accommodate this new trend.

This e-economy of Facebook games could be the way we buy and sell things in the future. It may become more lucrative to create digital goods than actual physical items for people’s real life use. Many non-Facebook games offer such services; the SIMs being one such game along with All Point Bulletin. Both games encourage users to create their own content to either share freely or to create and then sell for real world or in-game equivalent to actual money. This serves dual purposes. One, it allows users to feel as though they are actively contributing to the gaming community, and two, it allows for the users to do the work for the programmers and developers. If a game starts to slow down, so does new content for the game. When it is user-generated, programmers are encouraged to continue producing new content no matter what.

We live in a time where the world is becoming more and more digital. It only stands to reason that a digital commodities market would eventually begin to appear in various gaming platforms. The fact that such commerce has spread to Facebook is interesting; it spells both the opening of a new era and perhaps a glimpse at just what our future may hold. Will the digital world and all its unrealistic goods become more important than the real world and what we can make with our own hands? This is a question we in an ever-evolving age will be forced to ask ourselves if we ever hope to determine the course of our society as we know it and as it will be.