chapter  16
14 Pages

Economics and Role-Playing Games

WithIsaac Knowles, Edward Castronova

This chapter begins with economics as a field and three economic concepts that consider particularly relevant to the study of role-playing games (RPGs): macroeconomics, happiness, and game theory. Across all three, economics and game design overlap in their interest in designing rule systems – market regulations and mechanisms, game mechanics there. The chapter focuses on business RPGs as a form of treating the economy as role-play. It explores the economics of RPGs: their market size, business models, and the like and the economies within RPGs: their markets, auction houses, and interchanges with the real economy. The chapter deals with an economic theory of role-play, asking how and when people choose to engage in role-playing and what consequences this holds. While games and role-play have a long tradition of being used in business simulation and training, RPGs and role-playing themselves have not been the object of much economic attention.