Diablo III

28Nov11

“There is much political value in targeting not the state but the companies – especially those engaged in the Web 2.0 economy – and insisting on a distribution of income commensurate with the collective labour that defines the participation economy” (Lovink & Rossitter, 2011)

While talking about state intervention in an attempt to give a sense of security to workers this quote from Managing Media Work resonated with me as I had recently watched Extra Credits’ episode on the Diablo III marketplace. The episode discusses Blizzard’s decision to allow users of the game to trade in game items to other players in exchange for real world money. In essence, by participating in the game you have the opportunity to be remunerated in cold, hard cash.

What the episode brings to light is the opportunity for people to potentially make a “moderate living” by selling the items they discover, unlock or otherwise attain through playing the game dramatically changing the dynamic between the player and the game content for example the marketplace value of items could potentially have an influence over a player’s status within the community (or social network if you will) of the game.

Extra Credits also discuss one of Blizzard’s other big titles, World of Warcraft and how the illegal “gold farming” revenue estimates for China stands at an estimated $300 million. By incorporating this practice into Diablo III and by charging a fee for putting the item up for auction (whether it sells or not) as well as a cut when the item is sold in what is a truly “weightless” economy (the players are essentially only transferring data, a series of 1’s and 0’s), Blizzard stand to be able to essentially print their own money. Whenever interest starts to wane, all they will have to do is release some additional downloadable content (at a fee of course) to keep player interest, introduce new items into the game and stimulate the marketplace economy.

— Craig Harkness

 

Works Cited

Lovink, G., & Rossitter, N. (2011). Urgent Aphorisms; Notes on Organized Networks for the Connected Multitudes. In M. Dueze (Ed.), Managing Media Work (pp. 279-290). Thousand Oaks, California, United States of America: SAGE Publications Inc.

 

 

 

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