Dr Vili Lehdonvirta

 Dr Vili Lehdonvirta

Vili is an economic sociologist who studies the social and economic dimensions of new information technologies around the world. His particular areas of expertise are virtual goods, virtual currencies, and digital labour.

Email: vili.lehdonvirta@oii.ox.ac.uk

Tel: +44 (0)1865 287214

Profile

Vili Lehdonvirta is a Research Fellow at OII. He is an economic sociologist who studies the social and economic dimensions of new information technologies around the world. His particular areas of expertise are virtual goods, virtual currencies, and digital labour. Vili's book Virtual Economies: Design and Analysis (with Edward Castronova) is forthcoming from MIT Press.

Vili graduated with an MSc in Information Networks from Helsinki University of Technology in 2005 and obtained his PhD in Economic Sociology from Turku School of Economics in 2009 with a thesis on virtual consumption. In 2003-2004, he studied Technology Law at the National University of Singapore. During and after postgraduate studies, Vili worked at Helsinki Institute for Information Technology, Waseda University, University of Tokyo and London School of Economics. Before his academic career, Vili worked as a game programmer.

Recognized as an expert on online economies, Vili has advised many companies and organizations around Europe, United States, and Japan, including Rovio (Angry Birds), CCP Games (EVE Online), and the World Bank.

For more details, see Vili's home page.

Research interests

virtual goods, virtual property, digital money, digital games, persuasive technology, online work, microwork, microsourcing, crowdsourcing, gold farming, sociology of consumption, sociology of work, organization theory, ICT for development, East Asia

Positions held at the OII

  • Research Fellow, May 2013 -

Research

Current projects

Publications

Articles

Chapters

  • Lehdonvirta, V. (2012) A history of the digitalization of consumer culture: From Amazon through Pirate Bay to FarmVille. In: J. Denegri-Knott and M. Molesworth (eds) Digital Virtual Consumption. New York: Routledge.
  • El-Fatatry, M., Lee, S., Khan, T., and Lehdonvirta, V. (2011) A Digital Media Approach to Islamic Marketing. In: O. Sandikci and G. Rice (eds), Handbook of Islamic Marketing. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, pp. 338-362.
  • Hamari, J., and Lehdonvirta, V. (2010) Pelimekaniikat osana ansaintalogiikkaa - Miten pelisuunnittelulla luodaan kysyntää [Game mechanics as part of revenue logic - How does game design create demand?]. In: J. Suominen, R. Koskimaa, F. Mäyrä and O. Sotamaa (eds), Pelitutkimuksen vuosikirja 2010 [Finnish Yearbook of Game Studies 2010]. Tampere: University of Tampere, pp. 11-21.
  • Lehdonvirta, V. (2008) Real-Money Trade of Virtual Assets: New Strategies for Virtual World Operators. In: M. Ipe (ed.), Virtual Worlds, Hyderabad: Icfai University Press, pp. 113-137.
  • Lehdonvirta V., and Lehtiniemi, T. (2008) Economics. In: B. Perron and M. Wolf (eds), The Video Game Theory Reader 2, New York: Routledge, pp. 344-346.

Conference papers

  • Lehdonvirta, V., Barnard, H., Graham, M., and Hjorth, I. (2014) Online labour markets - levelling the playing field for international service markets? Paper presented at the IPP2014: Crowdsourcing for Politics and Policy conference, University of Oxford, 25-26 September 2014.
  • Ratan, R., Lehdonvirta, V., Kennedy, T., and Williams, D. (2012) Razing the virtual glass ceiling: Gendered economic disparity in two massive online games. ICA Annual Conference, Phoenix, AZ, 24-28 May 2012.
  • Liu, Y., Lehdonvirta, V., Alexandrova, T., and Nakajima, T. (2011) Real-Time Crowd Computing Using Social Media. Poster presented at CrowdConf 2011, San Francisco, CA, 2 November 2011.
  • Liu, Y., Lehdonvirta, V., Alexandrova, T., Liu, M. and Nakajima, T. (2011) Engaging Social Medias: Case Mobile Crowdsourcing. Paper presented at First International Workshop on Social Media Engagement (SoME 2011), 20th International World Wide Web Conference (WWW 2011), Hyderabad, India, 29 March 2011.
  • Liu, Y., Lehdonvirta, V. Kleppe, M., Alexandrova, T., Kimura, H., and Nakajima, T. (2010) A Crowdsourcing Based Mobile Image Translation and Knowledge Sharing Service. In: Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Multimedia (MUM 2010), Limassol, Cyprus, 1-3 December 2010.
  • Lehdonvirta, V. (2010) Digital free time: social leisure and leisurely shopping in online peer groups. Paper presented at the XVII ISA World Congress of Sociology RC13/RC23 joint session on Emerging Technologies and Leisure, Gothenburg, Sweden, 11-17 July 2010.
  • Tetsuo Y., Lehdonvirta, V., Ito, H., Soma, H., Kimura, H., and Nakajima, T. (2010) Activity-Based Micro-pricing: Realizing Sustainable Behavior Changes through Economic Incentives. In: T. Ploug, P. Hasle and H. Oinas-Kukkonen (eds), Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Persuasive Technology (Persuasive 2010), Copenhagen, Denmark, 7-10 June 2010 (LNCS 6137). Berlin: Springer, pp. 193-204.
  • Yamabe, T., Lehdonvirta, V., Ito, H., Soma, H., Kimura, H., and Nakajima, T. (2009) Applying Pervasive Technologies to Create Economic Incentives that Alter Consumer Behavior. Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing (Ubicomp 2009), Orlando, FL, September 30-October 3, 2009. New York: ACM, pp. 175-184.
  • Lehdonvirta, V., Soma, H., Ito, H., Yamabe, T., Kimura, H., and Nakajima, T. (2009) UbiPay: Minimizing Transaction Costs with Smart Mobile Payments. Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Mobile Technology, Application & Systems (Mobility 2009), Nice, France, 2-4 September 2009. New York: ACM.
  • Shiraishi, M., Washio, Y., Takayama, C., Lehdonvirta, V., Kimura, H., and Nakajima, T. (2009) Using individual, social and economic persuasion techniques to reduce CO2 emissions in a family setting. In: S. Chatterjee and P. Dev (eds), Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Persuasive Technology (Persuasive 2009), Claremont, CA, 26-29 April 2009. New York: ACM, pp. 130-138.
  • Shiraishi, M., Washio, Y., Takayama, C., Lehdonvirta, V., Kimura, H. and Nakajima, T. (2009) Tracking Behavior in Persuasive Apps: Is Sensor-Based Detection Always Better Than User Self-Reporting? Poster presented at The 27th International Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2009). Proceedings of the 27th international conference extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems, Boston, MA, 4-9 April 2009. New York: ACM, pp. 4045-4050.
  • Nakajima, T., Kimura, H., Yamabe, T., Lehdonvirta, V., Takayama, C., Shiraishi, M., and Washio, Y. (2008) Using Aesthetic and Empathetic Expressions to Motivate Desirable Lifestyle. Proceedings of Smart Sensing and Context, Third European Conference (EuroSSC 2008), Zurich, Switzerland, 29-31 October 2008, pp. 220-234.
  • Takayama, C., Lehdonvirta, V., Kimura, H. and Nakajima, T. (2008) ECOISLAND: A System for Persuading Users to Reduce CO2 Emissions. Poster presented at Tenth International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing (UbiComp 2008). Proceedings of the 10th Ubicomp 2008 Adjunct Programs, Seoul, Korea, EcoIsland: A System For Persuading Users To Reduce CO2 Emissions 21-24 September 2008, pp. 30-31.
  • Takayama, C. and Lehdonvirta, V. (2008) EcoIsland: A System For Persuading Users To Reduce CO2 Emissions. Paper presented at Pervasive Persuasive Technology and Environmental Sustainability Workshop, 6th International Conference on Pervasive Computing. Pervasive 2008 Workshop Proceedings, Sydney, Australia, 19 May 2008, pp. 113-119.
  • Lehdonvirta, V. (2008) Virtual Worlds Don't Exist. Paper presented at Breaking the Magic Circle: Game Research Lab Spring Seminar, Tampere, Finland, 10-11 April 2008.
  • Lehdonvirta, V., Soma, H., Ito, H., Kimura, H., and Nakajima, T. (2008) Ubipay: conducting everyday payments with minimum user involvement. Extended Abstracts Proceedings of the 2008 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2008), Florence, Italy, 5-10 April 2008. New York: ACM, pp. 3537-3542.
  • Nakajima, T., Lehdonvirta, V., Tokunaga, E. and Kimura, H. (2008) Reflecting Human Behavior to Motivate Desirable Lifestyle. In: G. Marsden, I. Ladeira and P. Kotze (eds), Proceedings of the 7th ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS 2008), Cape Town, South Africa, 25-27 February 2008. New York: ACM, pp. 405-414.
  • Kimura, H., Lehdonvirta, V., Okuda, Y. and Nakajima, T. (2007) Lifestyle Ubiquitous Gaming: The Use of Daily Objects for Persuading Players. Paper presented at the 1st International Workshop on Design and Integration Principles for Smart Objects (DIPSO 2007), 9th International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing (UbiComp 2007), Innsbruck, Austria, 16 September 2007.
  • Nakajima, T., Lehdonvirta, V., Tokunaga, E., Ayabe, M., Kimura, H., and Okuda, Y. (2007) Lifestyle Ubiquitous Gaming: Making Daily Lives More Pleasurable. 13th IEEE International Conference on Embedded and Real-Time Computing Systems and Applications (RTCSA 2007), Daegu, Korea, 21-24 August 2007, pp. 257-266.
  • Ayabe, M., Okuda, Y., Lehdonvirta, V., Tokunaga, E., Kimura, H. and Nakajima, T. (2007) Effective lifestyle changes through ubiquitous feedback systems. Paper presented at the 4th International Symposium on Pervasive Gaming Applications (PerGames 2007), Salzburg, Austria, 11-12 June 2007.
  • Lehdonvirta, V. (2005) Real-Money Trade of Virtual Assets: Ten Different User Perceptions. Proceedings of Digital Arts and Culture (DAC 2005), Copenhagen, Denmark, 1-3 December 2005, pp. 52-58.
  • Lehdonvirta, V. (2005) Real-Money Trade of Virtual Assets: New Strategies for Virtual World Operators. Proceedings of the 2005 Conference on Future Play (Future Play 2005), Lansing, MI, 13-15 October 2005.
  • Lehdonvirta, V. (2005) Virtual Economics: Applying Economics to the Study of Game Worlds. Proceedings of the 2005 Conference on Future Play (Future Play 2005), Lansing, MI, 13-15 October 2005.

Reports

  • Lehdonvirta, V. and Ernkvist, M. (2011) Knowledge Map of the Virtual Economy. Washington DC: World Bank.
  • Lehdonvirta, V. (2011) Digital Labour in Online Games. In: O. Sotamaa et al. (eds), New Paradigms for Digital Games: The Finnish Perspective. Tampere: University of Tampere, pp. 87-89.
  • Lehdonvirta, V. and Huotari, K. (eds) (2010) Advanced Virtual Economy Applications: Project Final Report. Espoo: Helsinki Institute for Information Technology.

Theses

  • Lehdonvirta, V. (2009) Virtual Consumption [Doctoral thesis]. Publications of the Turku School of Economics (A-11:2009). Turku: Turku School of Economics.
  • Lehdonvirta, V. (2005) Economic Integration Strategies for Virtual World Operators [Master's thesis]. Espoo: Helsinki University of Technology.

Teaching

Courses taught at the OII

  • Virtual Economies and Virtual Selves

    This course offers a tour of selected cutting-edge phenomena where Internet technologies seem to be at the root of radical social discontinuities.

Webcasts

News

  • Virtual Economies Are the Future of Consumption

    25 June 2014 Pacific Standard

    The online magazine features Vili Lehdonvirta's recent book, Virtual Economies:Design and Analysis.

  • Virtual Economies: New book by Vili Lehdonvirta and Edward Castronova

    1 May 2014 Oxford Internet Institute

    This book introduces the basic concepts of economics into the game developer's toolkits; explaining how the fundamentals of economics—markets, institutions, and money—can be used to create or analyze economies based on artificially scarce virtual goods.

  • Selling Candy to Babies

    3 April 2014 Polygon

    Vili Lehdonvirta contributes to an article on free-to- play online games which encourage players including children to run-up big bills. 'It would be smart of the industry to do some self-regulation', he says.

  • If You've Ignored Bitcoin Up Until Now, This One's For You

    26 February 2014 npr

    In the wake of the MtGox bitcoin exchange collapse npr explains the background and considers the implications. Vili Lehdonvirta says that Bitcoin allows people to dream dreams about how things could be different.

  • Bitcoin exchange crash may have cost users $350m

    25 February 2014 New Scientist

    Vili Lehdonvirta adds to the debate about the collapse of MtGox a prominent Bitcoin exchange which could prove very expensive for customers.

  • Why was Flappy Bird so popular?

    10 February 2014 Metro US

    In the wake of the abrupt closure of the ‘Flappy Birds’ game, Vili Lehdonvirta answers questions about its popularity.

  • Bitcoin: Problems already cloud the currency's future

    5 February 2014 New Scientist

    An article highlighting potential problems which could leave the whole Bitcoin currency vulnerable quotes Vili Lehdonvirta.

  • How Virtual Currency Could Make It Easier To Move Money

    15 January 2014 NPR

    Vili Lehdonvirta contributes to an article on how the virtual currency, Bitcoin is attracting attention from governments and companies.

  • Bitcoin just turned 5. And we have no idea who started it.

    3 January 2014 Washington Post

    The Switch, the technology section of the Washington Post speculates on the possible creator of bitcoin, the virtual currency. It suggests that it might be OII researcher Vili Lehdonvirta.

  • Bitcoins: What Does the Future Hold?

    27 November 2013 China Radio International

    China Radio interviewed Vili Lehdonvirta about Bitcoin. China accounts for more than half the daily turnover of Bitcoins.

  • Conference Call for Papers: "Crowdsourcing Politics and Policy" (IPP2014)

    5 November 2013 Oxford Internet Institute

    We are pleased to call for papers for the 2014 Internet, Politics, Politics conference, convened by the OII for the journal Policy and Internet, in collaboration with the ECPR Standing Group on Internet and Politics.

  • Backlight

    14 October 2013 VPRO Netherlands

    Vili Lehdonvirta was interviewed for ‘Backlight’ a weekly Future Affairs programme from Dutch broadcaster VPRO, about how technology can monitor every aspect of our lives. Does this make a closer union between man and machine? (Dutch and English)

  • 1000 likes för 15 dollars

    5 August 2013 Hbl.fi

    Finland’s largest Swedish language daily paper  quotes Vili Lehdonvirta in an article about the Channel 4 ‘Dispatches’ programme which exposed the activities of so-called click farms used to artificially indicate approval of a product on social media.

  • Bitcoin – part 2

    1 August 2013 Pod Academy

    Pod Academy which highlights current research interviewed Vili Lehdonvirta about Bit.coin (both podcast and transcript).

Events

  • DTC Workshop: Analysing Data with Crowds

    Tuesday 25 November 2014 09:45 - 16:00

    This course is designed to give students hands-on experience with the power and the pitfalls of using crowd sourced labour in social science research. Crowd sourced labour is becoming increasingly attractive as a part of the researcher’s toolkit.

  • DTC Workshop: Capturing Online Data

    Monday 24 November 2014 09:45 - 16:00

    In this intensive one-day course, we will use the iPython web interface to collect data from Reddit and Twitter. We will discuss issues with data formats, APIs, authentication and strategies for the non-coder.