Virtual currencies have been in the news a lot recently, pointing to the need for a more nuanced understanding of the way gamers spend their money—whether it’s real or not. Jamie Madigan has been posting an interesting (and entertaining) series of articles about the psychology of loot in Diablo III over on his website:
In some of the most important ways, Diablo III is a game about hitting monsters with weapons until other, hopefully better, weapons pop out of them. That is, it’s a game where you try to maximize the outputs of a system through optimal combinations of your character’s skills and equipment.
Dr. Madigan goes on to describe a number of ways that Blizzard and other developers could alter players’ virtual spending habits. With more and more developers talking about future models of monetization, consider brushing off your old economics textbook.