Far out Friday: Grand Theft...Stock market?

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Video games have gone from the world of fantasy forests and shoot em ups, and are starting to delve into the world of financial services.

The latest craze to hit the market – Grand Theft Auto V – lets gamers try their hand on the stock market.

Game enthusiasts can make a lot of money in GTA V. Each character pulls in a haul from various crime missions and maintains a separate bank account that they can tap into to buy vehicles, guns and property.

There are two stock markets—the Liberty City National (LCN) Exchange and the BAWSAQ. The LCN is controlled internally by the game through offline gameplay and specific tasks. The BAWSAQ is influenced by global behaviour via the social club and by how other players are playing GTA V.

There are 40 companies listed on the exchange and the prices can change based on how players behave. For example, if there are a lot of people purchasing weapons from Ammu-nation, the share price of that company will rise.

Similarly, if one particular type of vehicle is being destroyed often, then shares in that company will drop. The game also drops a lot of hints and prompts regarding the value of stocks. A fake radio will mention the highs and lows of various companies and some random missions involve people who will give out stock tips.

However, there is no ASIC to regulate the markets and online gaming tips suggest that players can pool together to obtain advantage.

“A series of 'assassination' missions provided by the character Lester always explicitly tell you how some company stock will be affected if you carry out the mission to, say, assassinate a rival CEO. Listen to Lester closely! And then invest before you assassinate...Always a wise strategy,” says one tipster.