Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Virtual Economy Research Network (VERN) is a communication hub for scholars, students and developers interested in virtual goods, currencies and economies. It was launched in September 2006 and is maintained by Helsinki Institute for Information Technology.

VERN's purpose is to promote academic research in the area, serve as a research resource, and enhance communication between scholars and developers. The main features of the site are a blog, a discussion forum, a bibliography and a list of research links.

The VERN blog publishes news, analysis and research by regular contributors from the academia and industry. Guest articles featuring new approaches to the topic are also occasionally published. Contributions are selected by a team of editors, currently Vili Lehdonvirta, Tuukka Lehtiniemi and Juho Hamari. To contact the editors, please send email to vern(├Ąt)

The VERN bibliography collects references to books and scholarly papers related to virtual goods, currencies and economies. Started in 2004, it is the most extensive public listing of research in the area. Any registered user can submit new entries to the bibliography, which will be moderated by the editors. To register an account, click here. Registered users can also start discussion threads and suggest links to the link list.

Virtual goods, currencies and economies

Virtual goods, also known as virtual assets and virtual property, are artificially scarce resources that exist in online spaces. Examples of virtual goods include powerful characters in massively-multiplayer online games (MMOG) and virtual items and gifts in social networking services (SNS). Many platforms that contain virtual goods also have virtual currencies and markets, forming systems that can be called virtual economies and subjected to economic analysis.

Virtual goods and currencies are frequently bought and sold for real money. In 2007, the volume of this real-money trade (RMT) was estimated at 2.1 Billion USD per year globally

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