A hat tip to my friend John who sent me this link from the BBC site regarding Project Entropia who have just released a cash card which allows gamers to convert the currency the earn in-game, to real world dollars ? and this cash card can be used in cash machines around the world.
Those involved in the MMOPG space may remember this story from last year regarding a man who bought an in-game space station for USD$100,000. The proud (virtual) owner is developing the space as a night club through which he is selling music and video rights to real world content providers. In game characters will be able to view and listen to this content, for a price ? which will be paid in Project Entropia Dollars (PEDs).
The Entropia economy works by allowing gamers to exchange real currency for PEDs to pay for in game goods and services, and back again into real money. Ten PEDs are the equivalent to one US dollar. In 2005 USD$165 million passed through the game and projections have that figure to double in 2006.
So, the real and virtual economies can now be linked in a tangible (and legitimate) way as opposed to those highlighted in my previous post around gold farming and the like. The BBC, true to form, has some good related links on this subject – I’d encourage readers to head over there for more articles ? what?s next? Will the real and virtual worlds meet – is there any reason anyone needs to ‘live’ in the real world if a virtual environment can answer their needs?
Update 23/06/2006 : While looking for news on another subject, I stumbled across this article on the growing virtual goods economy, follow the link for the good stuff, but the skinny is as follows; Sony have created something called station exchange in response to an estimated $200 million (we’ll assume USD$ as it’s not stated) global market for in-game goods, it further goes on to discuss an analyst cited by the Wall Street Journal, who is predicting that the internet gaming market could reach “US$13 billion by 2011, US$5 billion of which represents “non-subscription revenue” from sale of in-game items”
Much Gold Farmed – you buy now?