Abundance Report: $2 million for a Virtual Horse

April 18, 2010 · Posted in abundance 

World of Warcraft player demonstrate the ultimate level of Abundance, knowingly buying nothing. This is both the ultimate example of Abundance, Artificial Scarcity, and the how to find markets in an age of Abundance.

Maslow Hierarchy of NeedsAbundance occurs when capacity exceeds needs. This focuses on desires further up Maslow’s hierarchy. Innovation leads to Abundance which drives more innovation.

Players of the online game, World of Warcraft, have a lot of free time. They also have a lot of free cash. They were willing to pay $25 for a virtual horse that does not give any benefits other than decoration. 800,000 people rushed to a total of over $2 million in 4 hours for the virtual equivalent of costume jewelry.

Making virtual horses costs nothing. There might be some cost to design the first one but each horse bought by a user is free. The bits used to have a horse in the game versus not having the horse cost exactly the same. This is truly Abundant. But this free item is being sold for $25, how can that be? In the game only people who pay the $25 can have the horse. It’s kept Artificially Scarce. The artificial scarcity is the value of this object. Having something others don’t have and sharing something in common with other people is the desire being satisfied. This is a desire focused on identity. Identity is one of the few things in the universe that is naturally scarce.

Identity will be at the core of successful innovations in an of Abundance.