Play Time is an economic analysis of play in massively-multiplayer online roleplaying games (MMORPG) that I wrote back in 2004. It began as an undergraduate ‘honors thesis’, but — like most of my projects — it grew to a monstrous size and carried me away with it.
Play Time was originally written as one long and rather heterogeneous paper, but I have since revised and reorganized; it now comprises a general introduction and three separate monographs. It should be accessible to anyone who has taken a few undergraduate economics courses:
Outlines the topics to be discussed and defines terminology used throughout.
An Overview of the MMORPG Genre
Broadly describes the genre as it stood in early 2004. Most players and designers will not find this interesting.
The Problem of Abundance in MMORPG
Identifies the wants and constraints that motivate players and developers, and shows that many definitive aspects of MMORPG design serve economic functions.
Principles of MMORPG Asymmetric Trade
Constructs basic microeconomic models of ‘eBaying’ or ‘real-money trading’ (RMT) and fiat sale.
The Play Time bibliography.