‘Diablo III’ Is Experiencing Economic Meltdown

Senior Contributor
05.08.13 13 Comments

Not the game Diablo III itself, it’s still selling steadily and the console ports have real promise to sell boatloads.

No, no, we’re talking about the in-game economy. Thanks to a ridiculous glitch, it’s turning into Zimbabwe at warp speed.

What’s the glitch?

You cancel a transaction in the auction house before it’s completed, and the gold involved doubles.

Seriously, that’s it. That’s all you have to do. This would mostly just be hilarious and fascinating for economists as an economic experience except for the teensy detail that gold in Diablo III has actual value.

In other words, this glitch is triggering massive hyperinflation across the board and rendering all the gold players have stashed essentially worthless for buying items or trading as people try to build up huge stashes and sell them before the market completely crashes. This is a thing that is actually happening right now as you read this. Life becomes more like a bad cyberpunk novel every day.

If there’s a lesson here, beyond the fact that deciding gold-farming and the labor abuses it engenders is OK provided you get to dip your beak twice, it’s that game economies and real-world economies likely should not be linked.

It is a lesson that sadly we’re fairly sure will need to be relearned a few times.

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