An economy is the organization of resource production and distribution of goods and services within a community. As the number of worldwide online game players increase, virtual worlds have expanded in complexity. Game economies have risen out of nowhere to having players engage in day-to-day economic activities like in the real world. The economics of games themselves as a good is just as important as the economies within the games. At the most basic principle, games are purchased by consumers as a good to satisfy a need or a want. Players are initially drawn to virtual games for their entertainment value. Their interest and desire to continue play depends on how intriguing and exciting the game is to the player. Revenues from game subscriptions, in turn, can be invested into development of the virtual world and game technologies.
The future of MMORPGs and virtual worlds relies on this cycle. Better game play leads to more revenue and in turn, revenue produces better game play. If virtual worlds grow in the future to have a significant impact on real world economies and social interactions, then the economics of virtual games becomes important. Furthermore, games and their virtual worlds are owned and operated by game corporations. The effect that these owners have on the economies and on the rules that govern such economies is extremely important to the macroeconomics of the game industry.
With the introduction of real money to virtual world economies, there is an instant bias in terms of the construct of the game. Those with higher incomes have an advantage when purchasing virtual goods or services. As well, these same people might have the luxury of more free time to pursue leisure activities such as game playing. Since online multiplayer games do not end when one player logs off, game time is unevenly distributed. Immediately, the problem of price discrimination comes forth. Consider also that these games are generally open to the international market. Economies with different standards of living, currency values, and financial differences are now subjected to the same rules and regulations of an online game economy. Taking into account all of these restraints, game law must then adapt and compromise to this environment to meet the needs of this new global economy.