Game Theory: What is a Minecraft Emerald WORTH?


Hrrmmm Hrm HAHAHAHAHAHA! Sonic: Eggman, you’re finished! Okay, chaos emeralds blast awayyyyyy~ Disappointed Sonic: Hmm. What! that’s it? HEY [villager noises again] Sonic: Shoot, not my day [Game theory intro] Mat Pat: Hello internet, welcome to GAME THEORY! The only show on the internet that pays its staff in Minecraft emeralds. Uh, surprise to all of Team theorist this
month! [Angry team complaints asking to pay real money] Mat Pat: Look guys it’s February, adrates are super low Ugh, if it makes it any better I’ll throw in some doughnuts [Team Theorists]Man, he’s got a point- YAAY, it’s currency! – I can eat! Mat Pat: Anyway, with it’s 10th anniversary last year, Minecraft not only saw a massive renaissance here in Youtube Ahem…Kicking the Fortnite to the curb But it also rolled out some of their biggest content updates in years Giving us everything from target blocks to bees OH NO, NOT THE BEES! NOT THE BEES! [Dies from the bees] Mat Pat : But, of ’em all probably the most
interesting was the revamped villager trading system. Before last year’s ‘Village and Pillage’ update,
villagers would give randomly generated deals that could range anywhere from:>>Trump The worst trade, maybe ever
signed anywhere. Mat Pat: All the way up to Uh this one dude from futurama: “Shut up and take my money” Mat Pat: Now, after the 2019 update, that
randomness is suddenly gone. Instead, all of the trades start at a base price, and then
fluctuate based on a variety of factors: the villager’s experience, your player status,
and your personal demand for the deal. But it’s that baseline price that has me the most interested… You see, for the first time, it gives us a
standard value for the emerald. An emerald, in Minecraft’s world, is the equivalent of
1 stone axe, or 16 bricks, or 22 carrots or 32 sticks, or simply 1 rabbit stew. And so,
that’s what I wanted to look into today. What What is the value of a Minecraft emerald, in real-
world dollars? Can it actually be quantified? Does the dollar amount even make any semblance
of sense? Should Team Theorist over here be bummed about getting paid in emeralds this
year?>>Team Theorist: Yes!>>MatPat: Just you wait guys, because by
the end of this episode I think you’re all going to be singing a very different tune.
At least, I hope you’ll be singing a different tune, ’cause I don’t got a lot else to pay
you with… So, because I walk up to Kay’s Jewelers, drop
down my bundle of 32 sticks and get Stephanie a nice emerald necklace for our anniversary,
I should probably know how much I’m gonna be spending on her, right? Who knows! Those
sticks could be very valuable. *ka-ching* So, like I said, under the new trading system
everything has a base starting price, with 1 emerald being tradable for lots of different
types of items. It’s worth everything from 6 bread loaves to 32 rotten fleshes, 24 sheets
of paper, to 1 empty map. Which, let’s face it, is literally just 1 sheet of paper, so
the cartographer over there is getting himself one heck of a deal. Price gouging for the
win! So, the first way to look at this problem
is simply by pricing out some of these items and seeing if they all land in relatively
the same price range. As I look at the items, I’m just gonna pick out the ones that are
pretty darn standard. Things that aren’t really dependent on weight or quality, like pounds
of chicken or things like that. So, a loaf of bread. Probably the most blasé, standard
item out there. Keep your gluten-free seeded fancy Whole Foods $800 rye bread loaves out of here; this is a pure Home Pride butter top wheat channel. That’s gonna run you roughly
$3 at your local Target, Vons, or Food Lion my friends, so 6 is gonna rack us up about
$18 for that 1 traded emerald. Carrots are about 30c a piece, so 22 is…
$6.60. A sheet of paper is, like, 2c, so… 24 is getting us up to 48c… for that 1 emerald.
Jeez, we keep going backwards, this is not good! And already you can start to see the
problem with this methodology; 1 emerald is worth anything from 20 bucks to 50 cents!
And that’s without me even getting into some of the bigger ticket items like axes and shovels.
The range of value for that 1 emerald is just all over the place, depending on what you’re
trading it for. There seems to be nothing consistent about its value. So, let’s approach the problem another way.
Consider this, when you trade 22 carrots for an emerald, the farmer isn’t just paying you
for the carrots. The carrots are usually right there, literally right next to that villager.
I mean, we’ve all felt like evil capitalists before clearing out a villager’s garden, only
to sell it back to him, but that’s exactly what he wants – or, at least, that’s what
I tell myself he wants to make the guilt go away. No, the villager isn’t just paying
an emerald for the carrots, he’s paying you an emerald for the carrots plus the labour
costs it took to pull them out of the ground. How much labour are we talking about? [breaking carrot noises]>>MatPat: Oh boy, that is not really a lot
of labour. Or, is it? Sure, as the player we can clear out a field of carrots in seconds
using our superpowers, but villagers clearly don’t have the same abilities we do. They
can’t instantly build things. They can’t defend themselves against monsters, and they
farm way, WAY slower than we do. So, to get a sense of true value that 22 carrots
would have to a villager, I mixed things up a bit. I set up a village with 5 villagers
and watched them farm their plots of carrots for a full day. It was boring. Maybe boring
isn’t the right word to describe this – it was frustrating in the same way that watching
someone else struggle through a video game that you’re really good at is frustrating.
You just gotta sit there while they just that ONE plot of carrots just unpicked for no apparent
reason! I mean, villager! Just grab it! Just grab the top of the carrot and pull! Just,
pull a little bit. Seriously, why! Why are you just leaving that one block unharvested?!?!
Oh my gosh, it’s like, messing with my OCD. It is literally the opposite of a “Try Not
to Get Dissatisfied” challenge. [Shivers in dissatisfaction ]
>>MatPat: Alright. Over the course of the 5 minute 45 second
working day of the villager, the 5 villagers managed to clear out 54 plots of carrots which,
if harvested without a fortune tool, yielded 124 carrots. That means, on average, each
villager was collecting just over 4 carrots a minute. But remember that we’re talking
about in-game time. Minecraft day is only 20 minutes long, which means we need to count
each 1 minute as 1.2 hours of our time. So, in other words, the villagers are picking 4 carrots every
72 minutes, or 1 carrot every 18 minutes. THAT IS…, not efficient, my friends. So, to
collect 22 carrots, it’s taking a single villager 6 and a half hours – a bit more
than one of their full working days. Rounding things out here, that means a novice farmer
is making roughly 1 EMERALD per day in wages. Mat Pat: Since picking carrots isn’t particularly
skilled labour, and since the carrot trade is happening at the novice level for farmers
in Minecraft world, I’m gonna imagine that these villagers would be expecting the lower
end of the pay scale for their equivalent real-life position. So, looking up salaries
for farm workers in crop fields on the website PayScale.com, we see that the average hourly
rate for an unskilled worker is about $10.50. Since the Minecraft farmer is working 6 hours
per day and getting a single emerald out of it, it means that 1 emerald is gonna worth
63 bucks. That… is shockingly low. Definitely a bit better than the 50 FRICKEN’ cents
that we calculated earlier but still..-! This is an emerald that we’re talking about
here. These things are called precious gemstones for a reason. Clearly something is not lining
up here. The values of these stones is nowhere close to what we would expect ’em to be.
Which means that it’s time to do our calculations a third way. This time, by working in reverse.
We know that emeralds are valuable, right? That’s why it costs an arm, a leg, and your
firstborn child to buy a decent piece of jewelry for your loved one’s anniversary gift. [Knocks in happiness]>>Stephanie: Oh hey! Oh, sorry to interrupt
recording, I- I just wanted to say thank you. Thanks for the new necklace! I love it.>>MatPat: Well I’m glad you liked it. It
was either that or a bundle of sticks.>>Stephanie: Oh, by the way, have you seen
Ollie? [MatPat is thinking about ever decision in his entire life…and whistling]>>MatPat: So, what if, we start with real
life prices and work backwards into the game? Back when I calculated the value of Minecraft’s
diamond armour, we walked through the four C’s of gemstone pricing – carat, cut,
clarity, and colour, where more expensive gemstones are those that are bigger, aren’t
cloudy or scratched, have themselves a vibrant color (or colour), and have a nice cut or design. The
same holds true for emeralds just as much as it does for diamonds. These things are
huge, and have themselves a great vibrant green colour, but they definitely aren’t
transparent, meaning that they’re cloudy, and they haven’t been cut in any sort of
way – they’re fresh out of the ground. So, technically, we’re gonna go conservative,
and price them on the lower end of the emerald pricing scale.
Size seems like it should be our biggest challenge, since who knows how large these things are. However,
all we need to do are some simple calculations to know for sure. We know that 9, raw emeralds
can craft together to create one large emerald block. And the dimensions of that emerald
block are gonna be 1 cubic meter. Since emerald has a density of 2.78 grams per cubic centimetre,
our emerald block there is gonna weigh in at 2,780 kg, or 6,128 lbs. For ONE block of
gemstone. Remember what I said last week about how Link would maybe not beat, but could certainly
hold his own against Minecraft Steve in a strength competition? …Yeah, forget I said
that one. Now, divide that weight of an emerald block by 9, since it took 9 emeralds to make
it, to get the weight of 1 single emerald, and we get ourselves 680 lbs (309 kg) for
one, BASIC emerald in Minecraft. That is one HECK of a necklace!
Since gemstones are measured in carats, and one kilogram equals 5,000 carats, a single
Minecraft emerald is clocking in at the scale-breaking weight of 1.545 million carats. According
to Singhal Gems International, a low quality emerald larger than 5 carats is gonna cost
at absolute minimum $300 per carat, and as high as $7,500 per carat. Which means that
our one single emerald valued at 24 sheets of paper, 1 rabbit stew, or just 32 slices
of rotten flesh, would have a real world value on the LOW-END of $463,500,000 – or, if
it just so happens to be a highly desirable emerald, $11,587,500,000 at absolute most. So, wait, we have ourselves an emerald worth 50c, $60, or 11 BILLION dollars, depending on how we
calculate it. The. Same. Emerald. All using perfectly valid ways of calculating the value
of this thing. So, which one is it? Am I just wrong in the way that I’m calculating this?
Well, no. You see, it all goes back to something I said earlier in this episode.>>Past MatPat: We know that emeralds are
valuable, right? That’s why it costs an arm, a leg, and your firstborn child to buy
a decent piece of jewelry for your loved one’s anniversary gift.>>Present MatPat: The thing is, we DON’T know that
emeralds are valuable. In fact, we have a pretty solid understanding that in Minecraft,
they’re not. Outside of being used as a trading item, emeralds have very limited use
in the gameplay world. You can’t build tools or weapons out of them, you can’t build
Armour out of them, you can’t eat them. Their one and only other use is to select
powers from a beacon – the player has to select one of the available powers and then
insert an emerald into the item slot, and even here the emerald can just be replaced
with iron and gold ingots, or just a diamond. In the world of Minecraft, it has zero unique,
functional properties. The issue that we’re facing with this episode
is that we’re basing the value of an emerald off of how we price things. And we live in
a very different society than Minecraft’s world. We can mass produce paper, we can harvest
carrots by the thousands, we have machines that bake bread around the clock. But in Minecraft,
everything is done by hand; it takes a lot of time to make a single bread loaf. And a
single rabbit stew? Just think about what you’re asking! It requires a carrot, a mushroom,
a baked potato, and cooked rabbit. As we discussed, the carrot alone is taking 18 minutes to pick,
and that’s without even factoring in the time and resources it takes to grow it in
the first place. Same with the potato, then you gotta catch and kill and clean and cook
the rabbit, then you gotta forage for mushrooms. That one dish – that one rabbit stew – to
us as players living in modern times, and as Steve who is literally a superhuman in
this world, is completely unremarkable. But to a villager in this primitive society, that
one steaming bowl of soup is sucking up a huge amount of time and resources – for
just one meal. Which makes it worth its weight in gold – quite literally. The long and short of it is that currency
is only worth the value that we ourselves place on it. The earliest currencies back
in 9,000 BC were cattle and other livestock, mostly because people knew that those things
were valuable. Animals provided labour, food, transportation, and that value could be calculated.
Fast forward to 1,200 BC, and you see China changing the game by using cowrie shells as
currency. You know, those shells that today they make necklaces out of and sell in beach
souvenir shops next to shark teeth, sand dollars, and novelty soda koozies. In fact, cowrie
shells are one of the longest and most widely used currencies in history. They could’ve
bought you a cow, or a tract of land, but today they’re on a rung below boogie board
and fun noodle. Sure, at this point we all jump around Minecraft’s over-world without
a care in the world, but if you look at it from the perspective of the villagers, it’s
a brutal existence, where every night could mean death at the hands of the rampaging mobs.
It’s a rudimentary society where people aren’t just wearing jewelry around for
the heck of it. Here, the things that are valuable are food to survive, weaponry and
armour to defend yourself, basic shelter to help you live through the night. When you’re
operating at that level, a shiny green stone with limited function, while certainly special
and pretty, isn’t particularly valuable. It’s only worth the days labour that it
saves you, the 6 bread loaves that it buys. But today, we’re beyond all of that. Food
is plentiful, we have ourselves shelter to keep us warm, angry mobs aren’t knocking
on our door every night – hopefully… So for us, it’s about prestige, it’s about
signs of wealth – the bigger TV, the fancier car – and that is why suddenly a shiny green
stone mined out from the earth is much more valuable. It’s frivolous, it’s rare, it’s
unnecessary, and thereby worth millions. Kind of makes you wonder what our currency will
be in the future, thousands of years from now. Fibre optic bits, plants from pre-global
warming days, or maybe nothing at all. The age of Bitcoin and digital currency, where
our wealth is literally numbers in a cloud, are here. Currency is worth whatever society
needs it to be worth, and it could be that we’re fast approaching a time when society
tells us a bunch of 0s and 1s are now the better currency than gold, or paper, or gemstones,
or cowrie shells, or anything else. So how much is a Minecraft emerald worth?
I dunno, how much is it worth to you? Watch out Steph, it looks like it’s gonna be a
bundle of sticks for our next anniversary. But hey, that’s just a theory – a Game
Theory!!!!! Thanks for watching. And hey, if you wanna watch me calculate the actual value of Minecraft’s diamond armour, which that one does have a solid result in
the end, click the box that you see on screen right now. That is a very special episode
of the show, it was the first one that my friend Ronnie Oni Edwards worked on – our
first ever team member – and one that we’ve sadly lost since then so, if you want to check
out that one, we much appreciate it; and heck, while you’re at it clicking buttons on screen,
consider clicking the subscribe button. Doesn’t mean a whole lot, but you know what, that
number helps, because it adds to another meaningless number in the cloud – the subscriber count.
It helps tell YouTube this is a channel that matters, and you care about it. Ooo, last
thing that I’ll mention, and this is really important actually – YouTube is currently
doing a lot of manual surveys on the platform, so after you watch this video, or one of our
other videos, you might see the thumbnail pop up and YouTube being like, “What did
you think of this video? How would you rate it? 1-5 stars?”. Please rate it a 5. Please
do; it is actually the single most powerful thing that you can do to help this channel
right now. It means that YouTube is gonna be like, “Wow! This is a really good channel,
let’s share it more widely across the platform”, so! If you could rate us 5 stars – it sounds
so stupid, right? It sounds so antiquated but, this is how they’re doing it now so,
if you see a survey with a Game Theory video, a Film Theory video showing up in your feeds,
please rate it 5 stars, tell YouTube that we’re interesting, or entertaining, or funny
or whatever, whatever value you get out of these videos, please tell them that, and it’ll
help this channel more than you could possibly know. It’s a weird metric that YouTube’s
currently using right now, a satisfaction-based algorithm but, you would tell them that you’re
really satisfied about it, that would be great. Thank you all so much for watching, I got
another Minecraft theory up my sleeve that’s gonna be coming out in the next couple of
weeks, but in the meantime, something different next week. Alright, see ya then. [Outro Music]

100 comments

  1. “Feel like an evil capitalist before stealing his carrot just to sell it back to him” omg capitalism is why you have a job do you have to make everything political people don’t watch you content because of you ideology they watch it because the appreciate the thought process and over complicated reasons so I’m sure everyone will agree just to leave you’re politics out of it but nevertheless you have the right to because of our great country so think twice before you criticize the thing that makes literally every reason this country is good

  2. Have you ever played yandere simulator if not I suggest you play it. It is a game based on a Japanese school girl who meets her senpai but she discovers she is not the only one who has a crush on him and decides to be extreme and goes on a killing spree. It is an incredible game if you haven't heard it I suggest you download it now but remember it's not completed yet the full version will be yet to come. So stay updated with the game on yandere dev's youtube channel.

  3. anyone think you can say to your friend "pay me 1 emerald in real money" and boom your a millionair or better your a billionair

  4. He shows a cartridge of pokemon emerald, those things (With batteries) are like $70. So the minecraft emeralds are worth less than pokemon emerald.

  5. That would mean a single sheet of paper would cost $482,812,500!
    $526,704,545.45 per carrot!
    And $1,931,250,000 for a single loaf of bread!!!

  6. Is nobody going to mention that the armorer and weaponsmith make you give them a diamond for an emerald?

    Also quick tip to get emeralds, get a zombified weaponsmith/armorer and cure it. After that, most of it's trades cost 1 emerald or just 1 of the things they ask you for, an example is 1 iron for an emerald, and same goes for the mason! Curing a mason makes you pay ONE clay.. ONE CLAY for an emerald.

  7. Hey Matt I'm a huge fan of your content, and was wondering if you every thought who shadow Freddy was… Please reply.

  8. I think we need a theory on how if the ancient civilization did die off how did Steve survive and grow up to the point when we start playing

  9. “It was frustrating- just like watching someone struggling through a game you’re very good at.” shows markiplier struggling in fnaf

  10. the only thing emeralds r good for r trading n a pretty block for decorations but by god do not make a house out of it bc its tacky

  11. How could you let sonic say chaos emeralds? We know what they really are. Missed opportunity for being geological factually correct.

  12. Hey can we have an explanation for the music that plays in the end when you defeat the Ender Dragon? Thankssssssss. I haven't seen a video on it anywhere.

  13. What do you mean dude, in Russia a loaf of bread costs 10 rubles or about 15 cents in your currency.
    And that bread is good

  14. You know I think Mat Pat overlooked how emeralds are EXTREMELY RARE in minecraft only spawning in an Extreme hills biome

  15. I think that the villagers do not farm because when you load up a Minecraft world and you find a village they will be farming because their A.I says to farm that specific farm and if you harvest them they won’t farm them because the script tells them this is not the right carrot so if you make a random farm and put villagers they won’t farm it because their A.I is supposed to connect to that specific plant farm or group of plants. It’s more of something to do with the system. But you can make up how many stories you want.

  16. i feel so represented when he says food lion, no one knows about them except for east coast boys. I've been working at one for a year a half now.

  17. Steve is a normal human. The villagers, if code is analogous to DNA, are closer to pigs than humans. However, they can summon protectors in groups of four or more through force of will alone.

  18. Dear MatPat, i was on minecraft earlier, and i found something… rather odd… there is usually this text that appears at the bottom right corner of the big, MINECRAFT, but it said something, rather preculiar yesterday. It said, A riddle, wrapped in a mystery! Could that mean something?!

  19. One emerald: $63.00

    Me: Wow…that’s barely enough to buy groceries.

    Also me: s t o n k s

  20. This doesn't factor in that Minecraft's economical environment and ours are totally different. We cannot use something like paper, something so widely mass produced.

  21. Wouldn’t it be easy
    Find the weight of a Cubed, 1 meter diameter emerald is and divide it by 9 and find the cost

  22. 2:20 wouldn’t he hope they would want to be payed with emeralds because he can’t pay them with anything else

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