News, research and discussion on virtual goods, currencies and economies globally.

Virtual currency convertible to real money in Korea says Supreme court

In a case concerning two "gold farmers" doing mark-up trading with Lineage's currency Aden, the Korean supreme court ruled that it is OK, because the profits were generated based on skill, not luck. The Korean Times says that this is a landmark ruling.

The virtual currency was obtained by buying it from websites (worth $200 000) and then re-selling it in form of goods and currency to players (profit ~$20 000).

It seems this activity was not gold farming per se, but typical buying and reselling. They did not have to actually play the game itself. To what degree the ruling applies to actual gold farming and earning virtual goods in a game-like setting is not clear.

It would also be rather difficult to determine how skill or luck based a game is? This paper by Falk, Bessemann and Bosson study the relationship between skill and luck in Entropia Universe.

Players using bots or macros are not allowed to trade their, perhaps, not so skillfully obtained goods. The use of these factors of production might be quite difficult to demonstrate. The borderline between "normal" play and assisted play is rather hazy as well.



The Korean Times


Related posting on TerraNova

Hi, Juho - I like your comment and agree with it. I just posted posting on this issue on TerraNova, Any questions or comments are always welcomed. Best. --Unggi

Good post, especially the

Good post, especially the careful interpretations. Here's a link to Unggi's post as well, recommended reading. English language news stories perhaps make the story sound bigger than it is. We are lucky to have a judge reporting from the inside :)

Further reading

Thanks for comments.

Previous posts at VERN on virtual goods related regulations in Korea:

Virtual World Governance: Digital Item Trade and its Consequences in Kore

Paper by MacInnes I., ParkY J., Whang L..

- "This paper explains how transactions in virtual worlds (VWs) are influencing law and Internet governance in Korea. "

- "Findings from the case study reveal that property rights over digital
items are not yet determined. Game developers for the most part want to
control their own content but players want to have the freedom to
conduct transactions and be able to enter and exit games freely at any
level they choose. The also want to obtain items more rapidly and on
some occasions earn money. There is currently a small group of players acting as arbitragers in virtual world economies. "

- "This research shows that most players do not engage in item trade but
nonetheless approve of the idea. Very few want to make profits or a
living through item trade but they serve a large market that simply wants to buy items conveniently and sell what they no longer need. "

Bad RMT vs. Good RMT

Finally, Korean Government to illegalize RMT

Great questions

There are some great questions raised here, and defining two states of being against each other is frequently associated with contention. I'm especially interested in the line being drawn between skill and luck, and wondering whether the two crossover and what the effects of the places where they meet could be. While there are certainly examples that fall clearly into either camp, it's the middle ground where complications are likely to start to arise, and it will be interesting to see how these situations play out with respect to RMT.

Maybe if she would have been

Maybe if she would have been a lot more carefully with her money or if she had some kind of easy saver program she wouldn't be in the situation of thinking on the money she has to spent .