Game Development Reference
of enhanced immersion in fantasy worlds. Selling virtual goods will continue to
increase in popularity, and the suggestions in this chapter will broadly apply to
game design for years or decades to come.
You can't buy a virtual good without a virtual currency, though, so in
Chapter 10 we looked at in-game currencies and the most popular of the dual
currency models. Although the current best practices for dealing with engage-
ment currency and hard currencies may continue to be viable for some time,
this area still feels like somewhat of a frontier. One might expect a more stan-
dardized (and decentralized) internet currency to develop. Bitcoins are a fas-
cinating development in the digital currency space, in which currency is
generated based on the value of processing power, with inflation built into the
currency model. Might these become a standardized global online currency?
Alternately, if social networks continue to follow the “winner-takes-all” trend
that Facebook currently enjoys, it may be that a private currency owned by a
commercial interest acts as the standard. We attempted to keep our discussion
here practical and fairly general in the hopes that it might be broadly applicable
to game designers and developers in the coming years. Beyond that, we encour-
age any budding students of economics and/or futurists out there to write in
and tell us what they expect to see from virtual monetary policy in the coming
decades. Who will be the first Alan Greenspan of the online world?
11.3 A Fond Farewell to Friends
It never stops. There's a new tide coming in every morning. But we've done as
much analysis of this exciting space as is prudent at this juncture. You should
read this topic, then move forward and think further; we need to get back to
making games. So take up your oars, centurion. Gather those brilliant, dedi-
cated engineers, designers, artists, and financiers and pile them into your boat.
Head out with tonight's tide, and keep a lookout. There be dragons out there,
and sea monsters, but also enchanted isles filled with doubloons. They are
yours for the taking. And send us a message in a bottle describing your jour-
ney; maybe we'll meet up on some distant shore to share a cold one and con-
tinue this debate on game design.
—tf & bc