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

Secondary markets

Making sense of virtual property research

VERN is a forum for research on real-money trade of virtual property, but what exactly does that area comprise? There are over 50 entries in the bibliography, from economic analysis to policy studies — is there any pattern or consistency to this work?  Read more

BlackSnow Interactive: the documents

Those who have been following the RMT scene for some time can probably recall the shady company called BlackSnow Interactive (‘BSI’). Like many others, BSI was using computer-controlled player characters (“macros”) and vulnerabilities in game code (“dupes”) to obtain large quantities of game property very inexpensively. According to Julian Dibbell (Unreal Estate Boom sidebar, Wired magazine, January 2003), they also set up a “virtual sweatshop” in Tijuana, Mexico, where unskilled laborers played Dark Age of Camelot (‘DAoC’) in three shifts. (See comments below)

In 2002, BSI became famous for suing DAoC’s operator Mythic Entertainment over the right to sell game properties outside the game. They also threatened to sue Funcom, operator of Anarchy Online, to retrieve accounts that Funcom had frozen for EULA violations. There was some anticipation that BSI’s actions would result in the legal status of virtual property receiving clarification in the U.S.  Read more

Interview with CCP: EVE currency traders "going to lose big"?

EVE Online, the space-MMOG produced by the Icelandic company CCP, is known to have an advanced in-game economy with player-driven enterprises. The economy recently gained a bit of notoriety when the biggest-yet in-game banking scam was revealed, reported to be worth around 700 Bn interstellar kredits (ISK) or more than 100 000 USD at current eBay and IGE prices. I had the opportunity to interview CCP’s CEO Hilmar Pétursson and CMO Magnús Bergsson about EVE’s virtual economy and secondary markets at the Nordic Game conference last month. Below is a transcript of selected parts.  Read more

China’s domestic market for farmed gold booming

Xinhua news agency carries a story with a lot of figures on World of Warcraft gold farming in China. An interesting point is that since half of WoW’s 6 million players are now Chinese, farmers are increasingly able to make a buck in the domestic market in addition to the North American, Korean and European servers.

Via PlayNoEvil  Read more

Report from Nordic Game conference: virtual property and in-game advertising

Greetings from the Nordic Game conference in Malmö, Sweden. About 600 delegates from game companies, public bodies and research organisations showed up for two days of talks and workshops on a variety of topics – including virtual economies.  Read more

IGE, ready to sweep the Korean RMT market?

About a month ago, IGE bought a Korean RMT mediator, Itemmania. It is not the biggest player but its share in RMT transaction is considerable, around 35%. Hard to believe fact was the price of the company, 4.7B KRW(1000KRW is around 1 USD). It was really under-valued price considering the size of the Korean RMT market. Many suspected that there might be another secretive option in the contract.  Read more