Grow/Eat/Sell Your Apples — Video Game Economy in Circular Fashion

Earn — Trade — Exchange — Buy


In games we grow or mine or explore for resources to allow us to earn. It could be apples or potatoes (which make food) or cotton and wood (to make clothing or weapons). In the real world, fair labour policies come first. Before we get to the wholesale market for textiles and material procurement the textiles have to be made. A fair wage and a fair process for earning (inclusive of TM) is subject to fair labour policy and arbitrage between COL (cost of living) and country. The moment a producer takes the upper hand, we have to test the cycle rigorously: we have to go back to the beginning and redress the earning/TM/COL apex and fix it. There are a lot of organisations and bodies who turn a blind eye because there is no alternative to exploitation. If there is no alternative to exploitation, go and find out why and fix it. Exploitation in any form is an unacceptable construct in human life, let alone the supply chain. You can be the change you really want to see, right here. And for game economics, the ability to grow or mine for resources to earn in-game is one of the greatest things we do as players.


The fashion/garment industry (as I’ve always known it) is an industry built on negotiation, like most industries. This doesn’t affect the EARN part of the cycle, in fact, it enhances it. If you want to make money (because you have to) or you want to break even (because you must) then the trading model is a tighter ship than possibly any of the other points made in this article. If we grow apples, we can make apple pies and we can trade those apple pies for other items in games. But we can’t eat other items (unless they are food). If we make apple pies but we don’t grow apples, we have to trade and that happens long before we exchange or buy. The same is applicable in the fashion industry and largely because of margins, sectors of the supply chain are focused solely on everything from dyeing to block cutting. What these businesses do is stay within their lane. They don’t try to do anything other than that for a couple of reasons — 1. They can become the leaders in their field by constantly practicing their abilities to mastery. 2. They understand the competitive analyses outside of their field and have calculated their risk. So if they (grow apples) create dyes they are able to either trade with textile manufacturers to produce coloured textiles or they colour their own and trade them (make apple pies).


In games, as in the first stage of the cycle (“Earn”) we use what we create as currency. It allows us, when we cannot trade for cold hard cash, to increase our resources without losing. Ok, ok, so in game, economic models rarely allow the player to fail, but some game economy models “nudge” the player into hard currency purchasing. Hard currencies are those bought outside of the game, ergo, if I run out of dollars in the game, I spend real world dollars to buy those game dollars. Exchange in a practical sense as part of our circular economy model in fashion/garment production is similar to how we do it in games. I don’t have something, I need something, you have it so I show you what I can exchange it for. Of course, this is pretty close to EARN because I can also exchange my goods for cold hard cash.


The good golden rule of in-game purchasing is where the player “clearly sees the value in what they are buying” — this was coined by the genius of business intelligence for games and all round big thinker in game economics and data science: Jak Marshall, follow him. In games, I am a stupid purchaser, my purchasing choices are based on things like skip timers (which enable me to progress faster in the game) or resource management (which means I have to log into the game every hour thus increasing the game developer’s retention strategy — not a bad thing when it’s a good game). So in doing so, I thought about how the buy mechanic affects the garment supply chain and it’s big. Everything from cheap dyes to outsourcing AR try-ons is a false economy in fashion. Just like my purchasing power in games, but writ large. A bad purchase always leads to a massive fail in the entire economy cycle (for the player before the developer which affects both outcomes). As a consumer it affects my pocket and increases the bank balances of wasteful producers; as a fashion house it increases the economic margins and profitability in the industry (without a care for competition or consumption).

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Kelly Vero

Kelly Vero

Proud #slashie. I'm a published author of six books from island crimes to fat cats. Find me on Amazon.