Thursday, April 21, 2005

Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) will establish an online auction for people to buy and sell virtual-world goods with real-world money. As the article notes:
The move is surprising because SOE has been one of the fiercest and most vocal opponents of MMO [massive multiplayer online game] players who spend real money on virtual assets.

Like SOE, most MMO publishers ban the practice, making the traffic of virtual goods almost entirely illicit. Players are often cheated by shady traders who don't deliver as promised or who rescind payment after getting an item. As a result, SOE claims its customer service staff is constantly bogged down with angry players who have been defrauded.

But virtual goods may be worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year, and there's a lot of money to be made brokering the deals.