virtual economy

Analysis of User Base and Money Supply in Popular Virtual Economies

Autonomous Next has estimated the money supply and user base of popular virtual economies in the period between 2014-2016. Our research provides insight into virtual currencies that existed before Bitcoin in four popular games of the 2000s, including: (1) Runescape, (2) World of Warcraft, (3) EVE Online, and (4) Second Life.  Companies developing these worlds act like a central bank issuing a digital money supply to keep functional economies of entirely virtual activity. Our findings show that World of Warcraft held the largest user base at 5.5 million players and a money supply equivalent to $10 million USD. Meanwhile, Second Life managed a significant money supply of $40 million USD and a user base of merely 0.9 million. Linden Labs, the creators of Second Life, even claims that the GDP for their virtual world was equal to $500 million USD in 2015. Lastly, Runescape and EVE Online held a user base of 1.3 million and 0.5 million respectively and a money supply equivalent to $2 million USD and $18 million USD. This phenomenon shows how entirely digital tokens that represent utility value in a virtual world can have both utility value and speculative value, as some traded on vibrant exchanges.