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.