A virtual good is a digital asset that exists only at the computer level, so it is intangible.
In other words, a virtual asset is nothing more than a set of data that make up the asset itself. Therefore, its structure will give rise to the way of interacting, visualizing and using these goods.
As an example, if we are using a video and a file in Excel format on a PC, both are virtual assets. Also keep in mind that they are not of the same class, so they cannot be used for the same purpose in the same way.
Characteristics of a virtual good
Virtual goods are characterized by their intangible nature, so in no case can they be physically manipulated.
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This is the main basis of this class of assets, since from this premise, its main characteristics are:
- Authorship and/or ownership can be granted at the digital level.
- Only two senses can interact with this type of asset: sight and hearing.
- They are built or created from software.
- They are supported by hardware, or in other words, by physical components and tools.
It should be noted that with regard to the senses that can perceive some type of stimulation by a virtual good, touch could also be included. This is due to the fact that in certain audiovisual experiences there are haptic gloves and suits that allow virtual goods to be perceived in this sense.
Classes and examples of virtual goods
According to the classification of types of virtual goods, below, certain goods that fit into each typology will be exposed:
- free. These are those goods that are unlimited access. Simple text files are practically infinite to access and retrieve, since you don’t need a dedicated program to read them, they come by default in any operating system.
- Economic. It tries to encompass those goods that cannot be accessed equally by all agents. An example is artificial intelligence, which is developed for large companies or institutions.
- Of consumption. They are goods that are used on a daily basis. In this case, the most representative would be the internet network.
- Investment. They are goods in which the final objective is to obtain a final benefit. Cryptocurrencies are a digital asset that fulfills this function a priori.
- Intermediates and finals. These are goods that, in the end, will form part of a final good. An example is the data reports in the big data sector. While the data is in the report, it needs to be interpreted, made visual, and eventually a report or presentation created around it. Here the intermediate good is the report data, and the final good is the report that interprets it.
- public. They are goods that belong to the public system or society in general. An example would be free software, which is accessible to any user.
- private. These are goods in which their use is restricted to a certain scope, generally personal. Clear examples are personal photos and videos.
- Private property. On the other hand, this type of property is of a private nature, but with the difference that it can be exploited economically. An example may be the templates for calculators or contracts in Excel and Word formats sold.
- normal. They are goods in which the demand increases as the average income increases. In this case, an example could be video games.
- lower. On the other hand, in this case the demand for these goods decreases when income increases. You can put as an example any virtual goods that you want to sell second-hand, such as video games, movies, music, etc.
Then, based on this classification, it is possible to have a general idea of the virtual goods that we can find in the digital ecosystem.