As economists struggle to come up with answers to the mortgage meltdown and credit crisis, developer CCP's lead economist Dr. Eyjolfur Guðmundsson oversees a very different, yet surprisingly complex, kind of financial market: the persistent, single-server online world of spacefaring MMO EVE Online.
"By 2008, the market has become completely player-driven, and that's where I came in," says Guðmundsson during an Edinburgh International Festival session. "The whole economic structure has become so complex, the data so vast, that a specialist was needed."
He has 15 years of non-virtual experience in his field, and holds a PhD from the University of Rhode Island. When hired last year, he described himself as "a sort of Alan Greenspan for...EVE Online," referring to the United States' former chairman of the Federal Reserve. Players, designers, and CCP executives alike benefit from real economic analysis of the in-game world, he argues.