Iceland's real-world financial meltdown occurred when its banks engaged in highly speculative transactions. Last October, Iceland's currency - the króna - practically collapsed.
I was going to say "virtually collapsed" but as it turns out, the virtual form of the króna is just fine. In EVE Online, a massively multiplayer online roleplaying game created in Iceland, players flit across a universe of some eight thousand suns and associated planetary systems. Players can create value in many professions: mining, manufacturing, trade, exploration and combat.
I'll let blogger crisper tell the story:
The in-game currency of EVE Online is the ISK. That's right, the Icelandic króna. And where most multiplayer games have attempted to ban the translation of in-game assets to and from real-world money, EVE Online has not only permitted it but actively embraced it - so much so that daily speculation on world/game financial leverage is conducted openly on the official game web boards. As a result, the EVE Online ISK has remained fairly stable against virtually all the real currencies of the world for a few years now, fluctuating but not spiking, not crashing. There are people out there making an income, a real-life income, just handling the trades on the "floor".
All of which is to say: Iceland has collapsed so thoroughly that at this point, it's only economically viable export may very well be an internet spaceship game, and that internet spaceship game's króna is for all intents and purposes a more real and valid and valuable currency than the actual country's actual money.
In order to try to understand how it could be possible that Iceland's national currency seems to be worth more in an imaginary space pirate game, I thought I might compare the EVE online game with the actual Iceland. First, EVE online.
(EVE online game demo)
And here's what the actual Iceland looks like.
(Travelogue in actual Iceland)
Well, I guess it's a matter of personal taste. But I think I can see why more people want to spend money in EVE Online than in Iceland.