MMORPG Info Logo Real Money Trading of Virtual Property

Courtesy of Broken Toys, yet another take on RMT:

Live Gamer enables a complete marketplace solution for the player-to-player trading of virtual items.”

Yes, right, we’ve heard it all before. You are selling gold, right?

Well, kinda, but it’s not what you think. “Live Gamer is the leading provider for publisher-supported virtual item trading. ” What this means is that Live Gamer has given the gaming industry a cut of the profits. In return, they say that they’ll get rid of gold farming and scammers.

I’m not sure what I think. I do know that the game publishers have a vested interest in keeping a game fun and playable over the long term, which is not particularly important to a gold selling site like IGE. So realistically, if the people that I’m paying my subscription to are involved then that’s got to be to the players’ benefit. On the other hand, as soon as it becomes officially acceptable to buy your gold, the trade will shift to the things that can’t be bought : items that people want so badly are exciting because they are rare. If anyone can buy them, then I suspect the desire will simply shift. I don’t want to play a game where you can progress without actually, well, playing.

Live Gamer’s argument is that it is already happening anyway.

Whether or not Live Gamer exists, a massive amount of people are engaged in virtual item trading. Live Gamer offers the option of a safe, secure and fair environment that’s sanctioned by the game’s publisher. By moving this activity away from the black market, we hope that many of the negative symptoms of the black market will also be minimized such as abuse of the in-game mail system to deliver gold spam.

They have an impressive line-up already, according to an interview in Gamasutra, they already have Funcom GMBH, Sony Online Entertainment, 10Tacle Studios, Acclaim, GoPets and Ping0 Interactive signed up.

“There’s clearly demand, but it’s going to the wrong place,” says the CEO, meaning, one assumes, not into his own pocket.

I’d like to be positive but it’s difficult not to be cynical when the new solution is “this will be better because we want it to be.”

A case of wait and see, I suppose…

Update: Next Generation write that Blizzard will not support Live Gamer.

Their contact, described simply as a Blizzard rep, told the entertainment site that out-of-game trading “has the potential to damage the game economy and overall experience for the many thousands of others who play World of Warcraft for fun.”


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