Who exactly pays for virtual tools to grow a better virtual garden or to slay a virtual dragon, you ask?
Plenty of people, despite what Zynga's IPO tells you.
A man in China, for example, recently spent $16,000 for a virtual sword on a game that has not even been released yet.
"Age of Wulin," by California-based company Snail Games, has not even been released on mainland China but that isn't stopping some from spending serious cash on the game.
The game is a role-playing one that is set in ancient China and is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, or better known as MMORPGs.
The man is not alone in his purchases. A study released earlier in the year valued the virtual economy for MMORPGs is $3 billion.