The Invisible Hand in Virtual Worlds: The Economic Order of Video Games

Cambridge University Press (2021)

Matthew McCaffrey
University of Manchester
Video games aren't merely casual entertainment: they are the heart of one of the fastest-growing media industries in the world, and a cultural phenomenon in their own right. Gaming has evolved from a niche pastime into a global business that rivals film and television, creating, in the process, new art forms and social arenas and have become the subject of endless public debate. This book shows that games also provide a unique space in which to study economic behavior. Games, more than any other form of media, demonstrate the power and creative potential of human choice - an idea that's also the foundation of economic thinking. Whether it's developing trade relations, or the use of money, or even complex legal institutions, virtual worlds provide a captivating and entertaining arena for studying economic behavior in its most dynamic forms. The overarching theme of the volume is the economic order that governs virtual worlds, and the many ways individuals work together, often without knowing it, to govern their social relations in digital space.
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