Steve Levkoff's Blog
I AM NOT a "virtual economist" - I AM a real (actual) economist that studies virtual markets. I hold a bachelor's degree from the Johns Hopkins University in economics / applied mathematics and also hold master's and doctoral (Ph.D.) degrees in economics from the University of California, Riverside. I have been a gamer for as long as I've been able to hold a controller in my hand.
Currently, I am a behavioral scientist & the Chief Economist at Nerd Kingdom, an indie developer/startup. I consult on a very wide variety of issues ranging from monetization & virtual markets, to game design, balancing, business analytics, and more.
I also hold joint appointments as a lecturer in both the Department of Economics and the Graduate School of International Relations & Pacific Studies at UC San Diego, where I teach a wide variety of courses ranging from microeconomic theory (including game theory) and finance to operations research and environmental economics.
Video games provide us with a data-rich environment that can be extremely useful for conducting research aimed at solving real world problems (ie: how do people manage scarce resources?). My goal here is to provide more insight along these lines and explain how social science and economics, in general, can help guide game design, develop user analytics, and can overall, be applied to make for a much richer gaming experience capable of generating data that can be used in real world policy applications.