Virtual Currency Games

Digital currencies have been slowly gaining in maturity both in terms of their functionality and the financial infrastructure that enables them to be used as a credible alternative to non-virtual fiat currency. Though Bitcoin, the 1st and most well known of the crypto-currencies was created in 2009 there have been forms of virtual currencies used in video games for more than 15 years. 1997’s Ultima Online was the first notable attempt to incorporate a large scale virtual economy in a game. Players could collect gold coins by undertaking quests, battling monsters and finding treasure and spend these on armour, weapons or real estate. This was an early incarnation of a virtual currency in that it existed purely within the game though it did mirror real world economics to the extent that the Ultima currency experienced inflation as a result of the game mechanics which ensured that there was a never ending supply of monsters to kill and thus gold coins to collect.

Released in 1999, EverQuest took virtual currency gaming a step further, allowing players to trade virtual goods amongst themselves in-game and though it was prohibited by the game’s designer to also sell virtual items to each other on eBay Arkadium Games. In a real world phenomenon which was entertainingly explored in Neal Stephenson’s 2011 novel Reamde, Chinese gamers or ‘gold farmers’ were employed to play EverQuest and other such games full-time with the aim of gaining experience points so as to level-up their characters thereby making them more powerful and sought after. These characters would then be sold on eBay to Western gamers who were unwilling or unable to put in the hours to level-up their own characters. Based on the calculated exchange rate of EverQuest’s currency as a result of the real world trading that took place Edward Castronova, Professor of Telecommunications at Indiana University and an expert in virtual currencies estimated that in 2002 EverQuest was the 77th richest country in the world, somewhere between Russia and Bulgaria and its GDP per capita was greater than the People’s Republic of China and India.

Launched in 2003 and having reached 1 million regular users by 2014, Second Life is perhaps the most complete example of a virtual economy to date whereby it’s virtual currency, the Linden Dollar which can be used to buy or sell in-game goods and services can be exchanged for real world currencies via market-based exchanges. There were a recorded $3.2 billion in-game transactions of virtual goods in the 10 years between 2002-13, Second Life having become a marketplace where players and businesses alike were able to design, promote and sell content that they created. Real estate was a particularly lucrative commodity to trade, in 2006 Ailin Graef became the 1st Second Life millionaire when she turned an initial investment of $9.95 into over $1 million over 2.5 years through buying, selling and trading virtual real estate to other players. Examples such as Ailin are the exception to the rule however, only a recorded 233 users making more than $5000 in 2009 from Second Life activities.

These violent video games don’t teach kids moral consequences. If the child shoots somebody in such games, he, certainly, neither goes to jails nor he is penalized in any way, he gets extra points instead. It has also been observed that playing violent games correlates to children being less caring and helpful towards their friends, sisters and brothers. Children spend a great deal of time with violent video games at exactly the ages that they should be learning healthy ways to relate to other people and to resolve conflicts peacefully. Some recently released video games which contain violence are: Saints Row: The Third, Dead Space 3, Hitman: Absolution, Gears of War 3, Dead Island Riptide, Shadows of the Damned, Darkness II, NeverDead and though older but very popular Counter Strike. In all such games Players have to be cold-blooded and use guns, knives, and explosives, machine guns, grenades, and chainsaws they will win if they shoot, slice, and stomp on enemies.

The Pied Piper of violating video games is taking our children and even youth to the unknown lands of plight and misery. Should we sit and see and wait what harm he brings to them? Or we should make some efforts so that we may save our generations from complete destruction. Whatever we are we must try to do something at our level best. Mainly the responsibility lies on the shoulders of parents. Parents can minimize any potential harm. Parents should limit the amount of time as well as the types of games their children play; children are less likely to show aggressive behaviors. The active parental involvement in children’s media usage – including discussing the inappropriateness of violent solutions to real life conflicts, reducing time spent on violent media, and generating alternative nonviolent solutions to problems – all can reduce the impact of media violence on children and youth.

Parents can also help their children in selecting games for them which when they will play will not only provide them entertainment but also enhance their mental faculties and make them very much creative. They are also useful to make them good future citizens as violence is not the focus of the games instead the children can have fun learning, dancing, solving puzzles, playing sports, and more. Some such kinds of games are listed here which can help the parents to get rid of this problem: LeapFrog Explorer Learning Game: Pet Pals 2; Just Dance: Disney Party; Disney Princess: My Fairytale Adventure; The Magic School Bus; Art Academy: Lessons for Everyone; Crashmo; FIFA Soccer 13 and many more.

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