๐Ÿค”Community Marketplace

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Easily abused use with caution see Play to Earn

The idea is simply that you allow your players to sale and buy items to and from each other with real currency ... taking a cut. Tools like Steam's Community Marketplace are an example of this.

The issues with a community marketplace are similar or depending on the implementation the same as with Play to Earn. While it may not be your intent its very easy for these community marketplaces to turn into harmful or even illicit systems. Take a look at the history of Steam's Community Marketplace to see a few examples of the rather major problems that can happen.

Aside from potential legal exposure Community Marketplaces by nature add "Real Value" to in-game items, events and activities and this has a very real effect on Player Motivation. Put simply if you want to make a beloved, fun game, then you want to keep the "real value" of items, events and activities within it as close to zero as possible. This deals with concepts of intrinsic vs extrinsic motivation and how time, money and "value" all relate.

Community Building

Community building is a key factor to modern game success and a community marketplace can be a powerful tool in building that community. Many players enjoy the management and maths involved in market manipulation however when you link this with monetization you make it "to real". Community marketplaces that deal with monetization do not have the positive community building effects of the strictly in-game versions. This comes down to motivation, when you amass in-game wealth you do so for intrinsic reason as their is no "real" value to any of it. In contrast when you amass real wealth through buying and trading of valued goods your now into the realm of gambling, investment and securities, even if wholly above board (legal) the motivations involved are extrinsic by nature and more akin to a job than a game.

Anti grey market

So one use or rather justification for introducing or permitting a community marketplace is to counter grey markets. Grey markets are where players outside your control buy and sale in-game goods. These markets are problematic as they are not managed or regulated in anyway so theft and cons run rampant.

The issue is the same as with the "anti gold farming" argument of premium currency. Your solving 1 problem by creating another. Community marketplaces can be ran and managed safely but they are not a solution to a grey market problem.

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