Games and real life: economics edition

I’ve spoken elsewhere about how games companies are now not only creating virtual economies but are hiring actual economists to help manage them. Valve, one of the first to do this, has just had economist-in-residence Yaris Vafoukaris headhunted – to serve as finance minister of Greece.

Let’s be clear – Vafoukaris already had solid credentials, which is why he got the Valve gig. It’s also true that Greece is a small country and that Syriza’s left-wing politics make their economic ideas unconventional. But it’s also clearly true that his time working in the virtual economies of Valve’s games and Steam client, and their conversion to and from real-world economics (which some would say are themselves increasingly virtualised), hasn’t been seen as hurting his ability to manage one of the more troubled economies in the Eurozone.

Once again: games=fun, right; fun=trivial? not so much.

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