MMORPG Info Logo Entropia Universe

EntropiaPlanets broke the news that Neverdie “finally sold off the remaining real estate that is Club NEVERDIE” on their front page.

Why is this interesting? He sold this real estate, which exists only in the virtual world of Entropia Universe, for $335,000. That’s real, US, dollars.

Virtual Property Sale Record Broken | Edge Magazine

Entropia Universe allows users to convert real world finances to a virtual currency, offering a fixed exchange rate for users who choose to cash-out and convert their virtual currency back. Entropia’s in-game properties, therefore, have a real cash value.

Jacobs, who goes by the in-game name of Neverdie, has made a number of high-profile transactions over the past few years, from the $25,000 sale of his in-game items, to his purchase of a virtual asteroid for $100,000. The purchase of the asteroid, in 2005, was believed to be the most expensive virtual item sale in history. That record was broken by the 2009 sale of the Crystal Palace Space Station for $330,000.

The recent sale, confirmed by Jacobs to the fansite, amounts to a value of $335,000. Jacobs sold a number of bio domes, a mall, stadium and a club to Kalun.

I’d never of heard of this MMOG before. The website doesn’t do a great job of explaining the game:

The Planet Roster

Entropia Universe is a growing virtual universe.

The more informative Wikipedia article describes it in more detail:

Entropia Universe is a massive multiplayer online virtual universe designed by the Swedish software company MindArk, based in Gothenburg. Entropia uses a micropayment business model, in which players may buy in-game currency (PED – Project Entropia Dollars) with real money that can be redeemed back into real world funds at a fixed exchange rate.

The Entropia online community claims to have over 810,000 registered participants from over 220 countries and dependent territories.

Of interest to MMO players is the description of the starting experience:

When someone new first starts playing they are not given any items or clothing beyond a damaged orange jumpsuit, a pair of grey shoes and a tool for gathering vibrant sweat from creatures.

Players with little or no money are initially limited to the following actions:

  • Using the service as a 3-D virtual chat room or exploring the virtual universe.
  • Using an in-game process called “Sweating” or “Sweat Gathering” to extract bottles of “Vibrant Sweat,” which can then be sold to other players for PED or changed to items. The 2010.06.03 VU release may introduce 2 new types of “sweat”.
  • Collecting “fruit”, “dung”, and 6 sorts of precious rare stones which can be sold to other players to raise funds.

Collecting sweat and dung for cash!

Sounds awesome fun!!

Especially the sweating tutorial:

This is an interesting business model for an MMOG, but not one I can see becoming widespread.

How would people feel about their developers selling the latest Raid instance to the highest bidder, who would then charge real money for entry?

“Just pay $5, for a chance to kill the dragon and grab his phat lootz …”

There is also the whole legal issue of virtual property to worry about, what do you actually own? The relatively few court cases over virtual property theft have all come to diametrically opposed conclusions. However once real money and gaming become this entwined, it is only a matter of time before legislation gets involved.

I, for one, am awaiting the inevitable future stories of virtual bank robberies, and hey, why think small? How long before someone steals a virtual moon?


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