Developing secondary economies outside of gaming environments is yet another challenge that video game publishers have been forced to confront. The creators of Ultima Online were the first people to watch this phenomenon in action when an item from their game world, a castle, was purchased on eBay for several thousand dollars. This marked the beginning of a market that, by the year 2006, would be worth more than one billion dollars. Players will put in a significant amount of time and effort to amass in-game wealth, search for unique weaponry, and raise their characters’ levels of power and prestige to sell the rewards of their virtual labors for real money. The buyer and seller agree on the item’s price, the payments can be transmitted electronically, and then the buyer and seller can meet up in the game world to finalize the deal. Some Chinese companies have turned this into a legitimate business and hired hundreds of people to work as “gold farmers.” These people play games to collect resources that can be sold to gamers in other countries, such as South Korea or the United States. Most MMOG companies attempted to curb this behavior by terminating the accounts of players suspected of being gold farmers. For example, Activision Blizzard has shut down thousands of versions of this type since World of Warcraft was released online. In 2007, eBay began strictly enforcing a ban on the sale of virtual items. The company effectively took over the secondary market when Sony introduced Station Exchange. This platform would ease the buying and selling of virtual items within its EverQuest video game franchise. Linden Lab was the first firm to build a game centered on a virtual economy, but other companies have followed suit. That was the online game known as Second Life.
Gambling among friends
The rapid expansion of social media in the early 21st century prompted software developers to search for ways to profit from the opportunities given by social networking websites like Facebook and Myspace. They created a Web-based gaming experience equivalent to older home consoles by using animation technologies such as Flash. These games had a broad appeal because of their simplified gameplay and cartoon-like graphics. Furthermore, several of these games offered players incentives to attract additional players into the game, which further increased their popularity. The most famous “Facebook games,” such as Zynga’s Mafia Wars (2008) and Farmville (2009) and Electronic Arts (EA’s) The Sims Social (2011), maximized revenue by rewarding players for interacting with advertising partners and selling in-game currency. These “Facebook games” were particularly successful.
PlayStation was a home video game console first introduced by Sony Computer Entertainment in 1994. Sony’s ascent to dominance in the video game industry was heralded by the release of the PlayStation, a machine that was part of a new generation of 32-bit systems. The PlayStation, also known as the PS One, was the first video game console to use compact discs (CDs), marking the beginning of the transition away from cartridges in the video game industry.
In the early 1990s, Sony attempted to promote the PlayStation in collaboration with Nintendo under the name Super Nintendo Entertainment System–CD. This effort was unsuccessful, and Sony ultimately decided to market its console. Both the Japanese and American launches of the PlayStation, which took place in December 1994 and September 1995, respectively, were met with widespread acclaim from gaming critics and successful product sales. Games with names like Twisted Metal and Ridge Racer were quite well received. By 2005, the PlayStation had established itself as the industry standard by being the first system to ship 100 million units. The premier games on the PlayStation included fan favorites like Final Fantasy 7 and Crash Bandicoot, as well as Tekken, all of which gave rise to many follow-up installments.