By Garry Law, Technical Lead
Eve Online is a massively multiplayer online game. Its distinguishing feature is that the entire community plays in the same world, so hundreds of thousands of players are actually interacting in real time (unlike something like World of Warcraft, where you can only play with several hundred players at once).
With such a large player base, Eve Online creates a real economy in a ‘sandbox’ environment. Players determine the prices of in-game products by creating a real supply and demand, manufacturing their own products and selling them on a market.
Lastly, the in-game currency can be re-converted into real world game-time (which is usually paid in real cash), so there is a real-world value attached to all the in-game economics.
And unfortunately, like a real economy, there are some crafty individuals who try to exploit the market. Here’s an Eve developer addressing this issue, not unlike an economics lecture. I doubt he could have summarised it any further though.