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Guest lecture by Edward Castronova, June 4th 2010, CBS

Professor Edward Castronova will be visiting the Virtual Worlds Research Project this June and guest lecturing at the Copenhagen Business School June 4th 14:00-16:00 CEST (8:00-10:00 EST).  For those unable to be in Copenhagen, the Virtual Worlds Research Group will be streaming the lecture live here on the Virtual Worlds Research Project blog.

On Magic and Money: The Growing Economic Importance of Virtual Goods

Professor Edward Castronova of Indiana University explores how trade in virtual goods has exploded since 2005. The real and virtual economy has been blurring for the past decade, and the boundary is increasingly hard to find. Are gold pieces in online games real money? If you buy virtual flowers for someone’s Facebook page, is it a real gift? Castronova explores these questions at two levels. First, the social: What has the sale of virtual goods gone up so rapidly? What are the markets saying? Secondly, the psychological: Why do people treat virtual items like real items? The lecture concludes with predictions about virtual business, virtual work, and the real profits to be earned from both over the next decade.

14.00 – 14.10 Welcome by Professor Flemming Poulfelt, Copenhagen Business School
14.10 – 15.50 ON MAGIC AND MONEY by Professor Edward Castronova, Indiana University
15.50 – 16.00 Closing remarks by Professor Flemming Poulfelt, Copenhagen Business School
Following the lecture there will be an opportunity to continue the conversation and enjoy a glass of wine.

Room PH408, CBS Porcelænshaven 26, Frederiksberg

For further information and registration contact (or phone 46743813)

For those who are unable to attend the lecture, it will be streamed live on the blog of the Virtual Worlds Research Group without the need for registration.

Edward Castronova, PhD in Economics and Professor of Telecommunications, Indiana University is an expert on the economies of large-scale online games. He has numerous publications on that topic, including a book entitled Synthetic Worlds: The Business and Culture of Online Games. Synthetic worlds are online environments where millions of users share a persistent, fabricated geographic space at the same time. These places, billed and sold as games and/or social platforms, actually seem to be offering something more than mere entertainment. They act as a fantastical alternative to ordinary life, and as such they pose a significant challenge to business-as-usual in ordinary society: markets, public policy, politics, law, romance. In the area of economics, one pressing issue involves the extent to which people are paying real money to buy items for their game characters, thus blurring the distinction between the game economy and the real one.

Chronicle of Higher Education’s review excerpt: “Synthetic Worlds is a surprisingly profound book about the social, political, and economic issues arising from the emergence of vast multiplayer games on the Internet. What Castronova has realized is that these games, where players contribute considerable labor in exchange for things they value, are not merely like real economies, they are real economies, displaying inflation, fraud, Chinese sweatshops, and some surprising in-game innovations.”

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4 Responses

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  1. Lars Kristiansen says

    Virtual goods – real or not?…
    Have a look at my experiences from teens online here.
    I am looking forward to the lecture.

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