Teen world Gaia Online appoints economic advisors

Chatting in Gaia Online CNET News.com reports that Gaia Interactive has appointed Michael Boskin as the chairman of a new “Council of Economic Advisors” for Gaia Online, a sprite based virtual world slash community site aimed at a teenage audience. Boskin is a highly accomplished economist, being a professor of economics at Stanford University and a senior fellow at Hoover Institution. In practice, it sounds like actual work will be carried out by Stanford economics doctoral student Saar Golde, the second member of the council. A third member remains to be named.

The CNET article also discusses reasons why a company operating a virtual economy might want to bring economists on board. They could provide advice on maintaining a stable virtual economy or ideas on how to increase revenues from it. Or, as professor Boskin himself notes, they could simply be good PR.

At the same time, Slashdot has an interview of Dr. Eyjólfur “Eyjo” Guðmundsson, the new EVE Online lead economist. Dr. Eyjo is starting to publish quarterly economic reports that are actually aimed at the player base instead of the developers. Average player age in EVE Online is about 27 years and gameplay can be complex. By providing economic information to player corporations, CCP hopes to deepen the game experience further.

Attached are some screenshots from Gaia Online and a mugshot of prof. Boskin.

3 thoughts on “Teen world Gaia Online appoints economic advisors

  1. I am somewhat amused to hear that they would be hiring a real economist to work their site. I “played” gaia for some years, and found them, quite frankly, to have one of the worst virtual economies around. Most virtual economies are plagued by inflation, but they’re nothing compared to Gaia. The limited supply of “Donation items” (Also known as ‘the only good looking items’ to most people) when paired with the constant generation of money meant that you could see prices at LEAST doubling on a monthly basis for any given item.
    They tried to combat the skyrocketing prices by increasing the amount of capital available to newer players. However, this only helped the increasing prices.
    Only recently have I seen them doing anything which has helped to curb market prices, which was installing a tax on posting an auction item…
    Mayhaps that was the work of their new economist guy.. I don’t know, this is the first I’d heard of him.

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