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Trading Virtual Identity: A Model of Avatar Pricing in Online Auctions


Since 2004, online videogame industry has grown significantly. Players use 3D-generated figures called ‘avatars’ in cyberspace. High-leveled, stronger avatars are often traded in online auction sites such as Ebay or PlayerAuctions by online among players with real money. This paper studies the online avatar auction market. Among hundreds or even thousands of avatars listed online, only few deals are made every day. I collected data on successful deals (N=173), categorized avatar depending on attributes, and used Hedonic Regression model to examine which attributes affect the avatar prices the most. As a result, I discover that attributes indicate avatar power and previous owner’s dedication to game are significant in determining avatar price.


The Colorado College Honor Code was upheld. The author has given permission for this work to be deposited in Digital CC, the Digital Archive of Colorado College