We all sense it – Auction House prices are rising.
But by how much? And is price inflation ‘transitory’ or permanent?
What are the ingredients for inflation?
Generally, a precursor to inflation is an increase in the velocity of money. Factors that contribute to this increase include:
- Growing money supply
- High demand for goods
- Rising wages
With the major mid-April game update, we saw some of these factors take hold in the Coin Hunt World! economy. It was a stated goal of the creators to have ‘more keys exist in the economy’, and the new mechanics were a major move toward that objective.
Increased ‘money’ supply and a rise in player ‘wages’ came in the form of supercharged mystery boxes and walking quest rewards. On average, across urban and rural players, key income does indeed appear to be higher.
How much demand for goods has contributed to price appreciation has been difficult to quantify, but will likely become clearer as more structures are released and cubies begin to have utility.
How much keyflation have we seen?
Across all game items, in the three months since the walking quest/mystery box update, from April 14 – July 14, prices have risen, on average, 26%.
Let’s break down game items into categories and review inflation data for each.
Cubies, Blueprints, and Resources
First, we’ll take a high-level look at the major asset classes in the game.
Prices for both blueprints and resources have appreciated around 40%, with cubies seeing only a marginal increase.
There are several possible reasons for this dichotomy. For one, cubie supply could be close to meeting demand. As more cubies are printed, it stands to reason that dilution would put pressure on price, at least for now. It could also be that hunters just prefer to print their own cubies. Or, players see greater ROI possibilities in blueprints and resources. This rings true recently, as there has been significant alpha in stockpiling resources and then selling at very specific times.
Let’s drill down into the more popular resources.
Paint and Resin
Paint has surely been the sub-category with the highest price appreciation at 74%.
The green paint component of this number has been normalized, as the huge demand around the Hawaii event would have skewed the data. Even so, paint prices are rocketing higher.
This is in line with the theory that hunters prefer to print their own cubies. Or they could simply be printing more, or are stockpiling in advance of the Shark shop drop. In any case, Happy Hour looks like a decent time investment.
Resin is one of the few items in the game that has lost value. Too much overhead supply, and not enough utility. Yet.
Now let’s look at game items by rarity.
Epic, Rare, and Common items
Rare items have increased in price by twice that of commons and epics. Most of this is explained by Auction House action leading up to the Canada/USA events, so it appears that inflation is somewhat consistent across rarity levels.
At 26% in three months, keyflation is significant, though perhaps not as high as some had anticipated. But as stats and utility come to cubies, and we embark on building out the Cubieverse, it appears that keyflation will be with us for a while.
What game items do you think will rise in price the most over the long term?
The Auction House team has been deriving price data for several months, tracking almost 4,000 sales. Price charts for many items can be viewed on their individual pages on the wiki.
July 16, 2022
Love the data analysis. 💚
July 17, 2022
Thanks. Dataset is getting big enough for some statistically significant operations.
July 17, 2022
Great analysis. I find the data fascinating, so thank you for breaking it down so well!
July 18, 2022
Thanks! Hoping to do much more of this kind of work.
July 18, 2022
Thanks for this analysis. If I may, I would like to add an additional factor that would contribute to keyflation in the AH – the consequences of the one-two combination of the walking quests and the reduced crypto payout for system vaults.
This has likely led to many hunters hitting fewer vaults than previously at the same time that key volume has increased in the economy. The consequences of this include:
1. Many hunters now earn more keys per day than they spend in vaults. Since there has been no intrinsic incentive to save keys, there is increased incentive to spend keys in the AH.
2. Since the nerf of SV payouts and the rise in gas prices has likely offset the value of driving to SVs to hunt the crypto dip, the relative key value of items in the AH has risen relative to crypto earned in SVs.
3. If hunters are hitting fewer vaults than previously, they are receiving less paint from vaults than previously. This would indicate a commodities shortage which is consistent with your finding that paint inflation is significant.
July 18, 2022
Excellent points. The comment about paint makes a lot of sense. Less vaults hit = less supply = more AH demand. Personally, I’m making more of an effort to hit Happy Hour for this very reason. Thanks for your insight!