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Seek, share, or withhold: information trading in MMORPGs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1119-1134
Number of pages16
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2015
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to discuss the ways in which information acts as a commodity in massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), and how players pay for items and services with information practices. Design/methodology/approach – Through meta-theoretical analysis of the game environment as a set of information systems, one of retrieval and one social, the paper shows how players’ information practices influence their access to game content, organizational status and relationship to real-money trade. Findings – By showing how information trading functions in MMORPGs, the paper displays the importance of information access for play, the efficiency of real money trade and the significance of information practice -based services as a relatively regular form of payment in virtual worlds. Players furthermore shown to contribute to the information economy of the game with the way in which they decide not to share some information, so as to prevent others from a loss of game content value due to spoilers. Originality/value – The subject, despite the popularity of online games, has been severely understudied within library and information science. The paper contributes to that line of research, by showing how games function as information systems, and by explaining how they, as environments and contexts, influence and are influenced by information practices.


  • Games, Information economies, Information practices, Information systems, Social information, Virtual worlds