Something interesting that I heard about while I was away was that Team Fortress 2 had seemingly gone through an economy crash similar to the massive and destructive real life event that happened in 1929.
In the game, cosmetics are everything. The biggest and most exciting cosmetics are ‘Unusual’ items which have an effect that can be seen on your character such as lightning or floating skulls. Well in a random update that brought some new cosmetics to the game a bug made it so that all the random crates that you could unbox guaranteed that Unusual items would be obtained. This meant the rarity of all these items plummeted and so their price on the player-to-player market did too, causing a massive economy crash.
Now Valve did take steps to solve this problem. First they did of course fix the bug and secondly they are allowing everyone who obtained all these Unusual items to retain their first one but the rest would be untradeable. This would mean that those who stockpiled all the items just to sell them would not gain an unfair advantage over others. They even were willing to restore deleted items that people got rid of for fear of being banned. Valve handled this really well and I applaud them for doing so however it really does show how fickle online economy systems can truly be. I wonder if people will have any faith in the system after this.
Anyway that was just a small but interesting event that I felt showed an interesting dynamic in a video game focused environment when it came to an economy. Someone should write a paper about this…
That’s all for now, and as always. It’s not just a game, It’s a Life.