How Massive Multiplayer Online Games Incorporate Principles of Economics

Abstract

Games have always been a part of the human experience. Even the earliest of civilizations created games for enjoyment and entertainment. However, the educational value of those games is a relatively recent consideration. Over the previous fifty years, scholars have questioned the potential positive lessons learned from games such as Monopoly®, Scrabble®, and sports. While millions of children participate in these activities, a new type of gaming has emerged over the previous decade and is quickly surpassing other gaming formats. Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGS), such as World of Warcraft and Diablo, now have millions of players; however, the potential educational influence of these games is relatively unknown. This article presents an exploration of one potential educational strand – economic theory – that these types of games may facilitate.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Becker, W. E. (1997). Teaching economics to undergraduates. Journal of Economic Literature, 35(3), 1347–73.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Bonk, C. J., & Dennen, V. P. (2005). Massive multiplayer online gaming: A research framework for military education and training. (Technical Report # 2005–1). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Defense (DUSD/R): Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Initiative.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Castronova, E. (2002). On virtual economies. Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research. CESifo Working Paper No. 752. Retrieved from http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=338500

  4. Cohen, P. (2008) World of Warcraft adds another half million subscribers. The Industry Standard. Retrieved from http://www.thestandard.com/news/2008/12/24/world-warcraft-adds-another-half-million-subscribers

  5. Dieterle, E., & Clarke, J. (2008). Multi-user virtual environments for teaching and learning. In M. Pagani (Ed.), Encyclopedia of multimedia technology and networking (2nd ed). Hershey, PA: Idea Group, Inc.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Dolan, E. G. (1983). Basic economics (3rd ed.). New York: CBS College Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Frank, R. H. (2006). Microeconomics and behavior (6th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Gee, J. P. (2008). “Learning and Games.” The Ecology of Games: Connecting Youth, Games, and Learning. In K. Salen (Ed.), The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning. (pp. 21–40). MIT Press, Cambridge.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Gee, J. (2003). What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy. New York: Palgrave/St. Martin’s.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Greenfield, P. M. (1984). Mind and media: The effects of television, computers and video games. London: Fontana.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Hanson, J. L. (1986). A dictionary of economics and commerce. 6th ed. London: Pitman Publishing Limited.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Jonassen, D. H. (2006). Computers as mindtools for schools: Engaging critical thinking (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Lenhart, A., Kahne, J., Middaugh, E., Macgill, A., Evans, C., & Vitak, J. (2008). Teen, video games, and civics. Washington, D.C.: Pew Internet & American Life Project. Retrieved, from http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2008/Teens-Video-Games-and-Civics.aspx

    Google Scholar 

  14. National Council on Economic Education. (2007). Economic, personal finance and entrepreneurship education in our nation’s schools in 2007: A report card. Retrieved http://www.councilforeconed.org/news/story.php?story_id=108

  15. Prensky, M. (2005) Computer games and learning: digital game-based learning. In J. Raessens, J. Goldstein. (Eds.) Handbook of computer game studies, pp. 97–122. MIT Press, Cambridge .

    Google Scholar 

  16. Prensky, M. (2001). Digital game-based learning. NewYork, NY: McGraw-Hill.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Royle, K. (2008). Game-based learning: A different perspective. Innovate, 4(4). Retrieved from http://innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=433&action=article

  18. Sanford, K., & Madill, L. (2007). Critical literacy learning through video games: Adolescent boys’ perspectives. E-Learning, 4(3), 285–296. Retrieved from http://www.wwwords.co.uk/rss/abstract.asp?j=elea&aid=3121&doi=1

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Schrader, P. G. (2008). Learning in technology: Reconceptualizing immersive environments. AACE Journal, 16(4), 457–475.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Schrader, P. G., & McCreery, M. (2008). The acquisition of skill and expertise in massively multiplayer online games. Educational Technology Research & Development, 56(5–6), 557–574.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Schrader, P. G., Archambault, L., & Oh-Young, C. (2008). Training by gaming: A research framework to evaluate pre-service teachers’ training with massively multiplayer online games. Proceedings of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education International Conference 2008, ed. K. McFerrin, 1799–1804. Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Shuell, T. J. (1986). Cognitive conceptions of learning. Review of Educational Research, 56(4), 411–436.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Simkins, S. (1999). Promoting Active-Student Learning Using the World Wide Web in Economics Courses. Journal of Economics Education, 30(3), 278–291.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Smith, A. (1776). An inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations. Repr., Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988.

  25. Steinkuehler, C. & Duncan, S. (2009). Scientific Habits of Mind in Virtual Worlds. Journal of Science Education & Technology, 17(6), 530–543

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Wookcook. 2009. An Analysis of MMOG Subscription Growth, Version 23.0. Retrieved from http://www.mmogchar.com/analysis-and-conclusions/

Download references

Author information

Consortia

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

By Joshua H. Barnett and Leanna Archambault. How Massive Multiplayer Online Games Incorporate Principles of Economics. TECHTRENDS TECH TRENDS 54, 29–35 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11528-010-0451-y

Download citation

Keywords

  • Economics
  • Gaming
  • Integration
  • Learning In Technology
  • MMOG
  • Virtual Worlds