Game Journal – Hollywood Stock Exchange (HSX)

Designer/Developer: Max Keiser and Michael Burns / HSX

Platform: Web Browser

Original Entry Date: May 6, 2014 – May 7, 2014

Game Location:



The Hollywood Stock Exchange is a multiplayer online virtual stock market in which players buy and trade stocks in actors, movies, TV shows, and other entertainment based stocks. Players use virtual money called Hollywood Dollars (H$) to trade their stock with. Players start with 2 million H$ and can buy stocks in whatever they desire. Purchasing a stock occurs when a player chooses either the trade button next to a stock or the buy button within the stock detail screen. Purchasing a stock requires players to select an amount they wish to purchase and the value of the purchased stocks is removed from the player’s cash total. This places the stock in the player’s portfolio for quick and easy monitoring. Selling is the same. The rules for the game are simple: Buy and Sell whatever pleases you. The point of the game is simple too; make as much money as possible.



This screenshot as seen from a multiple monitor point of view shows the basic game screen available to the player. The left side shows the players Portfolio which contains all of the purchase and sale information that the player has performed. It also shows the daily gain and loss of value for any of the purchased stocks. On this screen players can check their trade history, orders, virtual banking history, leaderboards, net worth history, and their personal profile. If a player selects a stock from the list they are sent to a page similar to the one on the right, which is for the top MOVIESTOCK security named ECHO. On this screen the player can see a chart representing the current trading value of the stock for that particular security. Below the graph is a chart that shows the High and Low trading values for week, month, season, and year. It also contains information about the movie like the distributor, director, cast, and even the trailer for the movie if it is yet to be released like in the example above.


Strategy in this game is extremely complex. It mirrors the difficulty of the real stock market. But there are still strategies that can be used to affect gain and profit for the player.

  • Buying
    • Buying stock on movies that are hyped is a good way to earn cash. The further out (lower the stock costs) the better. Purchasing stock at a lower cost is almost always a better idea than waiting for it to inflate exponentially just to crash on opening weekend.
  • Selling
    • This takes practice but simply put selling is where you make your profit. If a stock has risen in value since you purchased it selling will gain you your money back plus that additional revenue. That being said, waiting to sell is usually a good idea while stock price is climbing, but can also break you if everyone else sells out beneath you.
  • Short
    • Taking a short is similar to profiting on somebody’s failure. If you believe a movie is overhyped or destined to fail then taking a short out on it is a good idea. You will profit from the crash of the film.
  • Cover
    • Covering, simply put is selling your shorts after they have earned you money.
  • Arman Khodaei has more tips on when to sell and how to earn H$ in the article located here:



  • Because the game data is populated by the players, anticipating what a stock will do is near to impossible.
  • Scoring is based on the amount earned over the players starting 2 million H$. Therefore, getting on the scoreboard requires players to really understand what they are doing and earn H$. This can be frustrating for beginning players.
  • Because the stock market updates and resets between midnight and 2 AM, there is a lot of time to do research, but not much else. There seems to be a lot of down time in this game.


Similar Games

Virtual Stock Exchange (VSG), the Stock Market Game (SMG), the World of Warcraft Auction House. Both VSG and SMG are clones of the stock market. They allow players to dabble in economics without putting real money up while learning, similar to HSX. HSX reminds me of the auction house in World of Warcraft because it is a system of supply and demand run by the players. People can flood the market with an item which drives down the price of it much like flooding a stock will lead to many people selling the stock, thus driving the price of it down eventually. Both games require the player to know when to buy and when to sell in order to affect profit.


Design Ideas

It may be interesting to apply a stock market type of situation to an MMO style game along with the standard auction house mechanics. This could really lead to an interesting economy within a virtual world by allowing players greater choice in their method of play and mode of earning income.