People buy virtual goods for the same reasons as they buy material goods. In online spaces, virtual goods can function as markers of status, elements of identity and means towards ends in the same way as material consumer goods do in similarly contrived physical spaces, says Lehdonvirta, the author of a new Phd on the topic.
The good news?
From a macroeconomic perspective, it does not matter what consumers buy, as long as they keep on spending. Virtual consumption might offer an ecological way out of this consumer society's dilemma, says Lehdonvirta.
Increased consumption and less ecological impact? Enough to get me interested and to add the thesis on my pile of reading.
Read a summary on the website of the Helsinki University of Technology which also contains links to the full thesis.
H/T: World Future Society