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E-commerce transactions in a virtual environment: Virtual transactions

Scarle, Simon; Arnab, Sylvester; Dunwell, Ian; Petridis, Panagiotis; Protopsaltis, Aristidis; de Freitas, Sara

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Simon Scarle
Senior Lecturer in Games Technology

Sylvester Arnab

Ian Dunwell

Panagiotis Petridis

Aristidis Protopsaltis

Sara de Freitas


E-commerce is a fundamental method of doing business, such that for a firm to say it is trading at all in the modern market-place it must have some element of on-line presence. Coupled with this is the explosion of the "population" of Massively Multiplayer On-line Role Playing Games and other shared virtual environments. Many suggest this will lead to a further dimension of commerce: virtual commerce. We discuss here the issues, current roadblocks and present state of an e-commerce transaction carried out completely within a virtual environment; a virtual transaction. Although technically such transactions are in a sense trivial, they raise many other issues in complex ways thus making V-transactions a highly interesting cross-disciplinary issue. We also discuss the social, ethical and regulatory implications for the virtual communities in these environments of such v-transactions, how their implementation affects the nature and management of a virtual environment, and how they represent a fundamental merging of the real and virtual worlds for the purpose of commerce. We highlight the minimal set of features a v-transaction capable virtual environment requires and suggest a model of how in the medium term they could be carried out via a methodology we call click-through, and that the developers of such environments will need to take on the multi-modal behavior of their users, as well as elements of the economic and political sciences in order to fully realize the commercial potential of the v-transaction. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.


Scarle, S., Arnab, S., Dunwell, I., Petridis, P., Protopsaltis, A., & de Freitas, S. (2012). E-commerce transactions in a virtual environment: Virtual transactions. Electronic Commerce Research, 12(3), 379-407.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Oct 3, 2012
Publicly Available Date Jun 7, 2019
Journal Electronic Commerce Research
Print ISSN 1389-5753
Electronic ISSN 1572-9362
Publisher Springer (part of Springer Nature)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Issue 3
Pages 379-407
Keywords electronic commerce, e-commerce, virtual environments,
virtual worlds, metaverses
Public URL
Publisher URL


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