November 27th, 2006

Making money from virtual money


Saw this on slashdot today: Chinese student arrested after making 150 million yen selling items for online RPG

Wang Yue Si, 23, came to Japan on a student visa in April 2004. He started selling items such as weapons and currency for online games through an Internet auction site in April this year, without obtaining the appropriate residency status…

Police suspect that Wang has sold a total of 150 million yen in virtual items and sent more than 100 million yen to China. (Mainichi)

The title focus on the student being deported after making US$1.3M. I think the real story is the fact that someone can actually made US$1.3M buying and selling virtual weapon and currency in online games.

Incidently, Blizzard step up its effort to ban farmers and sellers in the world of warcraft recently. A friend also informed me that Chinese game-farms are also seeing lower yield from their investment; an average account gets banned in a month as compared to 3-6 months before. This means they have to recreate an account and re-level a new character to level 60, wasting 10-12 game time.

The result is that the price of the in-game currency jumped nearly four fold, from US$50-60 per 1,000 gold to over US$200 per 1,000 gold now. The virtual black market is exactly like real black market, increase in policing only increase the black market price but never kill it.

I related this to Joi in the game over the weekend and he replied “Blizzard should just “legalized” it”. I agree.

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