Play Time is an economic analysis of play in massively-multiplayer online roleplaying games (MMORPG). It began as an undergraduate 'honors thesis', but, like most of my projects, it grew to a monstrous size and carried me away with it.
Play Time was originally written as one long and rather heterogeneous paper, but I have since revised and reorganized it. The work now comprises a general introduction and three separate monographs, of which 'The Problem of Abundance in MMORPG' is the most interesting. It should be accessible to anyone who has taken a few college-level economics courses. PDF and web texts are available:
An Introduction [PDF]
An overview of the topics to be discussed, along with definitions used throughout the work.
An Overview of the MMORPG Genre [PDF]
A broad description of the genre, as it stood in early 2004, written in a scholarly style. Most players and designers will not find this interesting.
The Problem of Abundance in MMORPG [PDF]
This is the paper to read. Identifies the wants and constraints that motivate players and developers, and shows that many definitive aspects of MMORPG design serve economic functions.
Principles of MMORPG Asymmetric Trade
A fairly detailed undergraduate-level analysis of the microeconomics of 'eBaying'. I haven't finished revising this one yet.
A bibliography for the foregoing works.