The structure of simExchange game stocks

No Gravatar

Brian Shiau (draft):

Contracts on most prediction markets are often binary contracts that pay depending on whether the event described by the contract occurs or does not occur. This structure is often referred as a binary option [1]. However, a prediction market is not restricted in solving yes or no questions. Contracts can be created to pay a scaling amount so that a prediction market can attempt to ascertain a quantity, such as how much a movie will gross in box office receipts.

Prediction markets have used contracts similar to futures to answer such questions. These contracts have some value that corresponds to a prediction and expire at a certain point, such as four weekends after a movie is released. At expiration, the contract holder cashes out the contract at the spot price (or the sum of box office receipts after four weekends) [2]. However, the problem with video games is that a game can continue to sell for years to come so any arbitrary expiration is not indicative of how well a game will sell. In creating a prediction market for video games, the simExchange required a structure that would accommodate the nature of the video game industry.

There are other quirks to the video game business. One particular problem that has been the ire of many analysts is the lack of comprehensive sales data [3]. Unlike Hollywood movies, video games do not have official sales figures every weekend. Instead, the industry relies on point-of-sale studies, surveys, and intelligent extrapolations from companies like NPD to get an estimate of how many copies a game has sold. The number of copies a game has sold will vary from source to source, although NPD is considered the standard by many in North America as it is the most comprehensive for North American sales.

Given these two problems, video games can continue to sell for years and the lack of data with absolute truth, the simExchange could not easily adopt the structure of most prediction markets already in existence. Instead, it sought a time-tested structure that has been used to answer a similarly mirky question: how much is a company that may last for decades really worth?

No one knows with absolute certainty how much a company is actually worth. That is one reason why the stock market exists for people to trade shares of a company. The stock market aggregates the information of all the traders to hopefully ascertain an accurate valuation for the company (this concept is known as the Efficient Market Hypothesis [4]). Due to the similarity of the issues, stocks on the simExchange function very similarly.

A stock&#8217-s price on the simExchange corresponds to the lifetime worldwide sales of a game, in which 1 DKP corresponds to 10,000 copies sold. These stock prices will climb or fall with monthly sales reports, just like a company&#8217-s stock price will climb or fall with quarterly earnings reports. A stock on the simExchange will also increase or decrease as a result of news on the product, just as a company&#8217-s stock will increase or decrease as a result of news on their products. If people believe a stock is underpriced given the data, people will bid it up and vice versa [5]. There is no automated function by the New York Stock Exchange to cash out a stock and pay shareholders a lump sum of cash depending on how the quarterly earnings for the company fared.

Eventually, a game will stop selling, just like eventually a company will stop growing. In this case the stock price will merely stagnate. Investors of game stocks can cash out just like they would with company stocks by selling their shares (or covering if they are short the stocks). The simExchange market makers will supply the liquidity to close those positions.

Due to this structure, in an efficient state where a diverse pool of traders are participating in the simExchange, game stock prices should become a strong predictor of the lifetime worldwide sales of video game titles [5].

[1] Wolfers, Justin &amp- Zitzewitz, Eric. &#8220-Prediction Markets in Theory and Practice.&#8221- March 2006. (PDF)
[2] Hollywood Stock Exchange Frequently Asked Questions.
[3] Electronic Gaming Business, October 6, 2004.
[4] Shleifer, Andrei. Inefficient Markets: An Introduction to Behavioral Finance. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc. 2000.
[5] Chen, Kay-Yut &amp- Plott, Charles R. &#8220-Information Aggregation Mechanisms: Concept, Design, and Implementation for a Sales Forecasting Problem.&#8221- Hewlett Packard Laboratories and California Institute of Technology. March 2002.

Originally published on the Sim Exchange website. Republished on Midas Oracle .ORG with Brian Shiau&#8217-s permission. ((( Appreciated. :) )))

Related: Keith Jacks Gamble: simExchange is somewhat OK, but will remained confined in play-money land. + Brian Shiau: The Sim Exchange Works Fine, Thanks. + Robin Hanson on the Sim Exchage + simExchange a Keynesian Beauty Contest + The structure of simExchange game stocks + An invitation to join the simExchange beta + Since November 9, 2006, the Sim Exchange has attracted over 2,400 registered players. + Sim Exchange – How to earn additional money? + The Sim Exchange: Basic Trading vs. Advanced Trading + BetFair, Sim Exchange = Vertical Prediction Exchanges, First

10 thoughts on “The structure of simExchange game stocks

  1. Midas Oracle .ORG » Blog Archive » What's your opinion on the Sim Exchange's market design? said:

    […] The structure of simExchange game stocks Read the last blog posts by Chris. F. Masse:Trader: InTrade-TradeSports management is neither […]

  2. Robin Hanson said:

    Er, it sure sounds like they don’t enforce any connection at all at any date between the game mentioned by the asset and anything related to sales of that game. If there are not enough traders of good will to enforce such a connection, then with learning the connection will probably be lost.

  3. Midas Oracle .ORG » Blog Archive » Robin Hanson on the Sim Exchange said:

    […] Hanson on the Sim Exchange Robin Hanson on the Sim Exchange: Er, it sure sounds like they don’t enforce any connection at all at any date between the game […]

  4. Midas Oracle .ORG » Blog Archive » simExchange a Keynesian Beauty Contest said:

    […] Robin Hanson on the Sim Exchage and The structure of simExchange game stocks Read the last blog posts by Keith Jacks Gamble:Top 5 Plays of the Super Bowl? Market says No.Super […]

  5. Keith Jacks Gamble said:

    Hey Chris F. Masse, do you think you could get Brian Shiau to share his Princeton senior thesis “Event Contracts: New Financial Applications and Implementation in Theory” with Midas Oracle readers?

  6. Chris. F. Masse said:

    Hi, mister Gamble. I have just e-mailed him.

    He is pretty responsive, but he needs one day or two to reply, on average.

  7. Midas Oracle .ORG » Blog Archive » Brian Shiau: The Sim Exchange Works Fine, Thanks. said:

    […] Previous: The structure of simExchange game stocks […]

  8. Keith Jacks Gamble said:

    Hey, thanks for emailing him, Chris. Brian Shiau let me know that he’d rather not share his thesis since it has some ideas in it that he intends to pursue in his business. I respect that.

Leave a Reply to Keith Jacks Gamble Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *