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Real Money Inside in MMORPGs?

CmdrTaco posted more than 11 years ago | from the screwball-economics dept.

Role Playing (Games) 417

Cranial writes "Sony Interactive expressly forbids the selling of Everqest or Everquest II ingame items or characters for money, but why? Imagine Massively Multiplayer Games where you can actually cash out your loot in the real world. What if that jewel in the dragon hoard was actually a digital title for the Hope Diamond or a real ancient artifact? This article on Programmers Heaven proposes a new economic model for MM games allowing free exchange of game money and items in the real world. Essentially it is a hybridization between online gaming (casino) and MM roleplaying games. Fascinating concept."

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Knowing my skills .... (5, Funny)

korielgraculus (591914) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639309)

Ah ha! I can trade in all my equipment for a used coffee cup!

Re:Knowing my skills .... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639410)

Thats not coffee. ;)

Real Women playing RPGs? (-1)

Fecal Troll Matter (445929) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639519)

Doubtful. Don't be so happy-go-lucky to come to the aid of a female elf, or whatever. You're all dudes, dude.

This will ruin the game. (4, Insightful)

Martin Marvinski (581860) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639541)

Less well off geeks who spend lots of time building characters up will sell to a high bidder who has money in real life and therefore the new owner of the character/item will not know how to use it as well as the geek who spent months getting it.

The game will end up with a bunch of more wealthy less experienced people running the lives of the geeks who spent all their time aquiring the items. The FUN of these games is that ANYONE regardless of status in the REAL world can become someone great. If money from the real world gets involved, that destroys the fantasy because not everyone will be on an equal footing when they start out.

That is one of the big reasons I think these games are so much fun.


Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6639310)


FIRS POST (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6639311)


Sir, Asshat (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6639451)


Make SCO stop please... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6639312)

I beleive that they have already caused enough damage [] . Make these threats stop.

BlackHat Hacker Court? (2, Interesting)

agentZ (210674) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639315)

So this is like the Hacker Court [] at Black Hat last Wednesday?

Sony should legalize the sale. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6639318)

Hell, they can even require that they get 1%. Maybe Sony can profit too!

Duping? (4, Interesting)

bluprint (557000) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639320)

Has any MMORGP gone totally without duping problems? Not to my knowledge. Star Wars has only been out a month, and already had some (small) dupe bugs.

When that happens....maybe.

Speaking of duped: Where is the DNA evidence? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6639404)

for Uday and Qusai Saddam?

Remember, during the huffing and puffing, that the
U.S. said that it would use DNA evidence to
verify Saddam Hussein's death?

W00t (4, Insightful)

rask22 (144831) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639321) has a somewhat similar concept. While not strictly an MMORPG, they do allow for the conversion of Dollars into ThereBucks.

Or at least they used to when I played the beta months ago before they started spamming my inbox.

Wasn't real money per se.. (5, Interesting)

kmak (692406) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639322)

But when Blizzard first came out with Diablo 2 Expansion, I was one of those ppl that exploited an easy level-up opportunity..

which allowed me to get to level 95 in 4 days.. after that, I went all-item hunting, and just picking up tons of stuff, muling and all...

and.. sold most of it immediately on ebay.. since it was the only way to do it before cheating/duping and all those things happen, while items were actually worth money, I made about 500$, more than my money back!

ya.. supply and demand is cool, too bad Sony's soo against it..

Profiteer! (0, Funny)

The Old Burke (679901) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639407)

You are one of those people that profits on others peoples problems. Using the market pressure in forcing them to buy profiles on Ebay.

It's nothing noble in making a profit on something that you did not create.

You are one of the same types of people that in a emergency situation would try to profit on the chaos by inflating the prices on goods hard working people need to survive.

Re:Profiteer! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6639478)

..and you would sell your excess food and water for what you paid for it?

Re:Profiteer! (1)

sandman935 (228586) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639490)

It's a pretty weak argument comparing the sale of virtual stuff with war profiteering.


Re:Profiteer! (3, Insightful)

finkployd (12902) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639502)

Except that NOBODY needs diablo II weapons and armor to survive. All he did was make a profit by selling to morons. Nothing wrong with that, nobody made them buy his stuff, they obviously wanted it enough to pay for it. That is how economics works.

I'm kinda assuming you wrote that post as a joke, but in case you didn't....


Re:Profiteer! (4, Interesting)

kmak (692406) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639513)

I don't understand what you mean "other people's problems".. I actually started each item at 1 dollar, and let the market decide how much it was worth, and I literally sold everything..

I might have been vague on what I meant by "exploit".. I don't mean cheating the server or anything, it's just that when the expansion just came out, anyone that plays it knows that one of the area "Bloody Hill" was insanely stupid - if you were a sorcerer, you literally can kill everything without being touched the way the level was designed - it was an design error which I think on the later patches, they made it harder..

and I just happened to ride on that design mistake - I didn't use any programs to "exploit" anything.. so maybe my choice of words weren't that accurate.. unlike the dupers and hackers and what not...

I don't take anything away from anybody - I didn't force anyone to bid on my stuff on ebay or anything.. if someone values an item at 20$, then I will sell it to them..

If you meant that as that I didn't make the game, well, I did invest tons of time on it, and I guess it's just different opinions.. then I'll just agree to disagree..

Re:Wasn't real money per se.. (1)

pmiller396 (457575) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639461)

No, they're just against it if you have the supply :)

Re:Wasn't real money per se.. (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639526)

ya.. supply and demand is cool, too bad Sony's soo against it..

It's because allowing it encourages hacks, to either create or duplicate powerful items.

Not quite a good idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6639323)

And then, people would loose all they have. I think Everquest players already payed enough of their social life, no need to take their money on top of it.

project entropia (2)

TekDragin (36895) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639326)

relation real monkey directly to game money is currently done in project entropia,

you can put money in the system to get game money, or take game money out of the system as real money. Its been around for a while. think it was mentioned in a story some time ago.

Re:project entropia (2, Funny)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639396)

You can turn a monkey into money without the assistance of a game, just put it in the classifieds, or perhaps you could find an interested zoo.

Re:project entropia (1)

No Such Agency (136681) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639424)

relation real monkey directly to game money...

Some Freudian slip. Because you're the monkey if you're dumb enough to pay real $ for stuff in a computer game, the existence of which is dependent on the solvency of the parent company and their desire to maintain the service.

Difference (2, Insightful)

Wrexs0ul (515885) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639434)

Difference though is that you have to constantly buy items in Entropia and they wear over time. The proposed method through Everquest allows for a total externalization of cashflow from the game where items are bought and sold for real money making the only required cost being the couple bucks each month for an EQ account. This way everything you have could be worth money with an actual chance for investment rather than forced degeneration of value over time by the game.

Mind you I don't like the idea either way, seems like an excuse to get some evercrack: "but I swear, this is how I make my living... yes it's from mom's basement"...


Re: project entropia (4, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639468)

> you can put money in the system to get game money, or take game money out of the system as real money. Its been around for a while.

Yep, it's a very old idea, commonly known as "the stock market".

Yeah... (5, Funny)

Tediak (249766) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639327)

Because this is what roleplaying is all about. Loot.

There is There... (4, Informative)

BobLenon (67838) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639336)

There ( [] ) is already kinda doing this. You can use your credit card to buy ThereBucks at like $1.00 == ~$T1030.00. In addition to this you can create products - clothing, cars ect that you can sell and make more ThereBucks.

With ThereBucks you can buy transportation things (buggys, hoverboards) and all sorts of clothing - Some of which is created by There and a lot is created by There users. Theres even an auction system.

Its pretty sweet.

Eh? What you say? (1)

bad_fx (493443) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639511)

*Sits here and rereads that there post twice and decides that There should change their name, cause it's neither here nor there*

there's good reason not to allow it (5, Insightful)

pimpinmonk (238443) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639340)

Although this seems like a "new-economy" idea, I can't say I'm a big fan. Firstly, gambling is 21+ and restricted to certain zones. Secondly, this promotes very anti-social behavior--people crouching away at their computers, beating wombat after wombat to get the extra gold and items. It takes the *fun* out of the game, as well as the *realism*. RPG stand for role-playing-game, and if all you're doing is leaching off of this world to try and make the most bucks you can as your primary form of employment, you may be compromising the fun of the game for other casual gamers.

Re:there's good reason not to allow it (1)

I8TheWorm (645702) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639416)

Probably the most logical comment I've read so far. It seems it would take all the fun out of it for those that are actually playing the game for fun in the first place.

That being said, I've seen a comment or two about some so-far-obscure games that are allowing this. Those ought to be the playground for people who want the relation between real money and monopoly money to be a static one.

Dupe? (1)

The Old Burke (679901) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639341)

I think slashdot cowered this in a story a while back.

Re:Dupe? (1)

dmeranda (120061) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639464)

Yes, I'm pretty sure I've seen the posting,


many, many times on slashdot :-/ But I have to admit, I've never seen anything "cowered".

NO!! (1)

Gherald (682277) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639346)

Must...keep...reality..and fantasy....seperate.

Re: NO!! (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639496)

> Must...keep...reality..and fantasy....seperate.

Yeah, I so hate it when reality intrudes.

well, at that point it (5, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639349)

stops becomming a game, and become employment. And all that implies.

You will also lose in revenue from people who want to play for fun. because they will never get an opportunity to get 'valauable items'

what happens when you spen 20 hourse getting a real valuable item, then the company decided to put 1000 od them in the game the next day? How valauble is something that can be created infinite times?

Re:well, at that point it (1)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639491)

according to some chick at the RIAA, [] things like that are worth 150,000 dollars.

Re:well, at that point it (1)

Frostalicious (657235) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639509)

stops becomming a game, and become employment. And all that implies.

What does it imply? That out of work techies can now scrape together a meager existance? I don't see a problem here.

You will also lose in revenue from people who want to play for fun. because they will never get an opportunity to get 'valauable items'

I don't see how. Anyone can still go out and get items, without involving anything real-world. Of course, more dedicated people who are willing to put more into a game can get better items. But it's always been like that. Or did I miss something?

what happens when you spen 20 hourse getting a real valuable item, then the company decided to put 1000 od them in the game the next day?

Well, then your item drops in value. Kind of like how everything works in the real world already? So what.

Re:well, at that point it (1)

Telastyn (206146) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639512)

That's the point though. This article proposes linking the fake objects to real objects. Thus they cannot be created infinite times. The virtual gem/sword/horse in the game will just be a placeholder for a real gem/sword/horse that the players can "win" by playing the game.

The problem [imo] becomes then that the company would have to charge high rates, or have crappy 'prizes' to make a profit. AND they'd have to have some mechanism to insure that the virtual objects aren't hacked or copied as it directly translates to winnings.

Bugs are a problem. (5, Insightful)

Christopher Thomas (11717) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639353)

A dupe bug would bring the economics of such a system crashing down.

The advantage to a system where in-game objects don't have (recognized) real value is that bugs aren't lethal to the parent company, and the game can be revised and the game database directly edited with impunity.

Make money in the game real, and suddenly the parent company has to be a lot more careful, and is a lot more liable if things go wrong (as actual damage has provably occurred to the players).

Ultima Online (1)

Zandromeda (265310) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639354)

So how is this different from the tons of people who sell items and gold and houses and accounts for UO on ebay? It's just that EQ has outright banned it. But plenty of other online games have no prohibitions against it and people pay everything from real money (sometimes hundreds of dollars) to other in-game items. It really is a new economy.

EverQuest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6639358)

With the hype(addiction?) over EverQuest and many other MMRPGs its no suprise the users of these games are wanting additional feature.

My wife... (2, Funny)

hshana (657854) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639360)

...would never let me play this one. Then again, who needs a wife when your living digitally...

Actually, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6639395)

you just get two wives. One online and one not.

Re:My wife... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639457)

because there is no sex as good as digital sex...

Security (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6639363)

One of the biggest reasons that SOE forbids these transfers is that they cannot take on the responsibilities of making the transactions secure. What about duping bugs? Or an 'accidental' deletion? Fraud? Fraud is a really major problem in SWG right now.

It just isn't worth the headache for them. Maybe some other games can solve this.

Re: Security (2, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639527)

> One of the biggest reasons that SOE forbids these transfers is that they cannot take on the responsibilities of making the transactions secure. What about duping bugs? Or an 'accidental' deletion? Fraud? Fraud is a really major problem in SWG right now.

Or a hackattack like the one reported here a few months ago, where barbarians crack the game, teleport everyone to a city at the bottom of the sea, bonk their sheep, and cash in their virtual savings accounts.

Project Entropia (3, Informative)

Sepherus (620707) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639364)

Project Entropia [] already do this.

Another Alternative (1)

ClubStew (113954) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639367)

More than likely, Sony forbids it because they can't profit. So, why don't they try to profit on this by starting a new store - or something of the like - where users can buy and sell in-game items? Heck, with all the greed going on in this day and age, I'm surprised they didn't think of this.

Or is there some other legal / "moral" (like corporations know what that is these days) problem with this concept?

Re:Another Alternative (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639479)

Sony forbids it because it ruins the game experience for everyone else, when some rich idiot just goes and buys up all the best characters and spells or whatever.

You could argue that Sony does profit indirectly, they profit from anything that keeps people playing.

But then they lose subscribers who just dont want to keep paying to play an unfair game where dopes with extra pocket cash ruin the fun.

Buying a level 6 million character is as much a cheat as entering a gameshark code.

It's just not fun.

Fascinatinc concept? more like bad idea. (4, Insightful)

lobsterGun (415085) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639368)

As is people don't already have enough of an excuse to hack characters and grief other players anyway. Now they want to add additional incentives to do so.

I don't think I'd want to play in a game world that activly encouraged that.

Oh come on... (1)

segment (695309) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639376)

I'll trade you my horse and even throw in the magic carpet for $1mill... What? My paypal info... sure

Term Evercrack makes more and more sense (1)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639379)

Yeah, I mean, its not like people have problems playing too much EQ to begin with. Imagine what suggesting that time spent in EQ == real life dollars is going to do to that. Evercrack seems like a better and better term to use .. all that was missing was the exchange of money between said market participants.

That ancient artifact link... (1)

cnelzie (451984) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639380)

...links to such a terribly designed web-site. It's hard to read or look at for just a moment...

At first, I just thought that it was a joke, then I realized it really is an ancient artifact itself! Unless I am mistaken, terrible information web-site designs have been out for what? At least a few thousand "Internet" years?

Already in design... (4, Informative)

jbischof (139557) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639382)

There is a game out there called Project Entropia [] that is being designed to allow you to purchase online credits with real money. I believe they were initially planning a 10 to 1 ratio of online money to real money. Items in the game will all degrade over time, so eventually you will need to repair or get new items. This keeps a need for income around that can be made in the game or outside of the game.

This is a great idea but it brings up a host of new problems. Who owns online items? What legal recourse is there if someone cheats? Who is liable for your money. etc.

People spend so much time and effort on MMORPGs that they should allow people to actually make a little money.

Laissez-Faire runs amok (2, Interesting)

DogIsMyCoprocessor (642655) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639385)

I'm guessing that players would game the system by forming coalitions where, through some of the player's characters doing suboptimal actions (from the individuals POV), the coalition would make money. Could make a mockery of the game.

Liability (4, Interesting)

Florian Weimer (88405) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639393)

I think the problem here is liability. If a software glitch caused objects to vanish, or improvements to the game shifted the balance and (inadvertedly) change the value of items, people would suddenly lose real money, and might sue.

Umm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6639398)

I'm not sure whether I like the idea that a game company can create virtual items that are worth real life money. Things like rare baseball cards, etc, are REAL objects, but virtual items in a MMORPG somewhere can be created infinitely. Wouldn't this ruin the economic situation eventually, if it was much much larger?

Real world issues... (5, Funny)

bytesmythe (58644) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639400)

I wonder how well an MMPORG would work as a tax shelter? Instead of getting money in the real world, you just get it dumped straight into your "Everquest IV: The IRS Has No Power Here" account. And if people would claim loss of game currency on as an itemized deduction.

Of course, sales taxes would be a pain in the ass. "Sorry, I'm not paying CA sales tax when I'm obviously performing this transaction in Midgaard." And if someone beats your character's sorry ass and takes your money, you'd have a hell of a time convincing the cops to track down one Umbrak the Barbarian, 8.7 feet tall, green skin, no hair, weight about 430 pounds, wielding a large spiked club and resistant to cold spells.

This just doesn't sound like a good idea.

Re:Real world issues... (1, Troll)

bytesmythe (58644) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639540)

My god... I can't believe I typed MMPORG. What the hell is that? Massively Moronic Post Obviously Rapidly Generated? Umm... Must've Missed Preview Option Really Gravely?


facinating ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6639402)

.. or just another sad method to turn gamers into overwieght, do nothings, who live in their mother's home eternal, spending all time on the net

Poor Evercrack players (1)

CausticWindow (632215) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639403)

Not only are they going to be addicted to a new game, they'll bankrupt them too.

Re:Poor Evercrack players (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639482)

yes, why can't the go into a wholesome business, like owning a casino? ;)

I'll sell my excellent karma (3, Funny)

duckpoopy (585203) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639405)

for $2. Any takers?

Kids palying with real money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6639409)

13-18 years old play a lot this games.
Are there so many people 23 years old that play MMORPG?

RE: mmorpgs and online casinos (0)

zr-rifle (677585) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639411)

./ "Essentially it is a hybridization between online gaming (casino) and MM roleplaying games."

Well, it isn't actually when you consider that mmorpg players are mostly teenagers, the only gamers that can afford the massive waste necessary to enjoy yourself with these games.

I'd keep my sons and daughters away to anything related to casino gaming requiring real money. On a side note I'd keep also keep them away from mmorpgs, but maybe that's just me.

Oh, and most online casinos are scams too. Not exactly the business model I want to see incorporated in future games.

Forgive my trolling, but I just had to say this...

Great concept (2, Interesting)

Tokerat (150341) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639413)

Until someone "creates" items though some hack, just like every other MMORPG, and sells them off for real money.

Diablo 2 at 7-11 (1)

skyknytnowhere (469520) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639418)

Sometime in the near future...
"How many SOJs for this Fruitastic Slurpee of Toothrot?"
"Lemme dupe."


I would pay real money for virtual items (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6639420)

but I'm virtually unemployed, and can't afford real items.

So buy a shirt! [] (or at least virtually look at them.)

This is getting interesting (2, Funny)

mnmn (145599) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639421)

I can see it now. 25 years into the future. The country is one big communist state. Everyone is poor and machines do all the work. But the state provides high speed internet connections and free Linux-based game machines. People spend 14 hours a day in a huge virtual world. The game is called Matrix. People dont care. Children are weaned on it. People meet each other on it. They practise their religion in the system. They form armies behind their ideologies and fight wars with various virtual technologies. Noone cares what happens outside. ...or do they!

seems like ive seen somthing like this befor (1)

lostinchicago (692439) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639422)

seems like i saw a thesis paper from a college student all about the difference in value between male and female charicters in everquest. I think it was somthing like 45 pages. did i see this article on slashdot?

This is illegal (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6639423)

Because it can't be taxed. Seriously. IRS will come after you for violating a bunch of crap.

You can't set up a system of bartering/trading where the IRS doesnt get its "fair share".

If it were possible .. people would have given up using US dollars many decades ago.

Nerf (1)

invid (163714) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639425)

So what happens when I buy the Godly Vorpal Sword of Slaying for $1000 bucks and the creators of the game decide to nerf it to half its strength? Oh well, too bad for me. Wait, this could spawn the industry of nerf insurance!

Casino (1)

ffallen (679410) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639427)

I would think that this might have something to do with them not wanting the devices classified/associated with gambling devices. If they are, then they become subject to all sorts of regulation in all sorts of countries.

There's another name for this... (2, Insightful)

tinrobot (314936) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639431)

Let's see, you put in money, play a game, hope to get more money out than you put in... hmmm... sounds kind of familiar....

It's called GAMBLING.

I don't think it's a very good idea.

Gold Standard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6639433)

How is this different than the move in the US ecomomy to/from the gold standard?

If you argue that fantasy money isn't "real", what keeps our money real?

I'm really not baiting. I believe i understand economics at a "macro" level (yes, that's a pun), but when it comes down to explaining it to a child, I can't do it.

Perhaps somebody could explain to me why the US economy moved from the Gold Standard and I'll then explain why or why not move from Fantasy MMPORG Duckets to USD (or Euro, or whatever).

Seriouse Problems w/ this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6639437)

This is the same concept that the RIAA and MPAA have been trying to force unto us, except in reverse.

With this system, we take a digital item, aka content and trade it in for a tangiable item.
The HUGE difference with this system is that Digital Items are not based on demand but on whim. There is no difference between 1 ingame Diamond, or 5 million. But in the real world, there kinda is.
(This is the problem the MPAA/RIAA/USPTO/etc. have a hard time coming to terms with)
What happens when a users works hard to get something, then loses it? Who's responsible? What happens when hackers mangle the code and manage to get 5 Billion diamonds? (Duping in Diablo II?)
Basically either the company that uses this system would be forced to either go bankrupt, or alieante they're customer base as they constatnly have to go back on guarentee's etc.

Pretty obvious.. (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639440)

I can see why Sony wouldn't want to suddenly come under the jurisdiction of every government that wants to regulate gambling.


Never gonna be legit. (1)

Murdock037 (469526) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639442)

Sony would never flat-out authorize something like that. They can forbid it and then look the other way, of course, if it makes gamers happy and brings more players into the fold, but they would never want to make it an authorized practice for the simple reason that they would then have to assume legal responsibility for it.

Everybody's already mentioned dupe bugs. And what about if a server's down? Are you costing a user potential earnings? Are you then responsible? And who dictates prices, and what about when somebody gets ripped off? How does this relate to online gambling?

Nope. Sony's got it much easier saying "This is just a game. If something breaks, or doesn't go your way, it's no real loss to you."

A dangerous idea (1)

HopeUnknown (668633) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639450)

We've all read the Stories [] of lonely nerds commiting suicide over stolen items/ bringing real currency into play a good idea?

Gold Standard (1)

kmac06 (608921) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639453)

An interesting idea would be something along the lines of a 'gold standard' for MMORPGs. Let's say ou pay $20*/month for the subscription, then the company says 'Any money you find in the game, we are willing you pay for.' IE you kill a monster and get $.10. You can then go to a merchant in the game and deposit $.10 into a real money account.

The company would have to be very careful how much money spawns/player, but you could get some extremely interesting econmies out of this model if anyone chose to persue it.

*Yes $20 is high, but if you can make real money from the game...

Reality? (1)

thung226 (648591) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639454)

This has a certain 'Vegas' quality to it, doesn't it? Vegas is fun because you can throw a little money into it, but it's only good if you have a good head about you and you can come back to reality when the trip is over. If you start to get addicted, then the alternate reality starts to become reality, which is never a good thing. Despite what you may have seen on ESPN at 4AM, gambling is NOT a good way to make a living, nor should playing video games.

This can be fun for those of us who can control it, but I fear for those gamers who will become the equivalent of the 45 year old grandmother (who looks 80) with an unashed cigarette permanently on her lips throwing her life savings into Mega Bucks.

Casino-esque? (0)

SkiddyRowe (692144) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639455)

Honestly, I can't see spending money on something like this. If I were able to spend money on it, gain something inside the game, and cash out with REAL money, then maybe I would. Think of it as "Active Investing" if you will. Consider this notice for you patent whores out there!

Better idea (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639459)

Instead, you should have in-game items which are instantiations of real-life objects. Questing for the items (or just purchasing them, or whatever) lets you change them in and get the real items. It's a good way to distribute promotional items since people will actively work toward the items, thus letting you know who actually wants what.

why not (1)

Stashia* (695757) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639466)

If there is a market and money to be made, I see little reason to prevent these transactions. God knows and addition to the economy would help right now.

And who wouldn't want to make some spare change developing characters for sale? How is it different from scouring flea markets looking for antiques?

Everwars seems to be the next big one.

yeah, great for industry PR (1)

JayDoggy (200317) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639470)

Just what we need, merging the two biggest-bugaboos in gaming today: online casinos and MMGs. Both with the stigma of being addiction-forming and dangerous, thanks to their popularization in mainstream media. Which in turn is responsible for the further driving away of mainstream gamers.

Sheesh, as someone "inside" I hate to think what this means for the future of our already increasingly insular industry.

liability issues (2, Insightful)

frenetic3 (166950) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639473)

man, this idea comes up over, and over, and over again..

the problem is it's virtually impossible to design a hackproof system -- nearly all modern mmorpgs have had instances of bugs where people dupe items or otherwise illegally generate money. eventually word gets out about them because everyone wants that advantage, but it's really different when $ is involved; if someone on one of these games found an exploit like that then they could embezzle practically unlimited amounts of $. and even worse, if an exploit became widespread then the whole economy could be totally screwed up, and people would be losing *real money*.

so the problem always ends up that no developer could reasonably shoulder that much liability -- it's bad enough with people bitching about losing imaginary items but if someone gets cleaned out of actual assets and $ then (ianal, but i believe) they can sue and the developer could actually be found liable.

my 2c


ze money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6639474)

project entropia has been mentioned here many times in the past, but as a quick refresher: the game itself is free, but all items in the game cost real money, and game money can be transferred back into real money. while this is certainly a good way to get people to play your game, it is just another way to avoid the problem that all massive multiplayer games have: making them actually fun to play.

Problems with real money (1)

neglige (641101) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639486)

A system that uses real money better be designed well. For one, if a bug makes you lose some game money, it's not a big deal. If you lose real money - and the word spreads, which I assume would happen very fast - you as the game designer and publisher have some hard times ahead.

Second, there should be a maximum limit for the amount that can be brought into the game. Otherwise the next mortgage on your house is just around the corner (but not to worry, I just got an email offering me a staggering deal here).

That would be a bad business model (0)

ikkonoishi (674762) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639503)

People like me would kill it.

When I game I go in to amass as much money as possible in almost any game I play.

Most players see money as just a way to buy things. I don't. I never spend money if I can avoid it. Each purchase is weighed as to how it could save me money in game. Armor and weapons reduce the amount of healing potions I need so they are a priority. I never heal if the potion would put me over my max HP unless the healing is free.

Unless they had a ridiculously low conversion rate I would make tons.

And I know there are other power gamers out there that would do the same

Great Idea But..... (1)

mogh1701 (691552) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639505)

I think the wife might get pissed if she sees a few thousand dollar charges on the card just to fuel my gaming addiction.

I can already see me trying to explain, "But honey look at my character he kicks ass now".

durph (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6639517)

this has already been going on for years, I know people who have made well over $500 selling stuff from ultima online.

Get with the program, this is old news.

Project Entropia (4, Interesting)

Traa (158207) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639522)

The idea of linking Real World(tm) money to MMORPG ingame money is exactly what Project Entropia [] is all about. You start out with the bare minimum of clothes, tools and skills and are only able to upgrade and buy stuff with in game money, which you don't have yet. To get money in the game you have two options:
1) Exchange real money for ingame money
2) Make money in the game by performing services, selling items, doing stuff, trading, gambling...

The most novel aspect of the game is that it allows you to exchange ingame money back into real money too.

Some things to note about this game is that stuff deteriorates, so over time without updating your items they would lose their monetary value.

What I liked about the idea is that for a certain amount of real money you can buy yourself the skills and tools to keep you busy for a certain amount of time. Then when you want to continue playing you have to either put in an enormous effort to make money in the game, or simply add some more real money. You are paying for playing. Not sure if it is very well balanced in Project Entropia, but the idea is interesting.

Greed (1)

discore (80674) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639534)

This seems like an okay idea in theory, but I feel the sad reality of it is that the players will ruin everything.

People in MMORPGs are greedy enough as-is with 100% fake items that have little to no real life value. This would only be 100 times worse if there was real money at stake.

Project Entropia (1)

bm_luethke (253362) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639536)

Project Entropia [] seems to do most of this already. I only played during the economic model beta - interesting concept. Free client, free to play if you want. You put real money in for game money, get real money out from the same game money. So, theoretically, if you spent enough time farming then you could make some money, though I doubt very much.

Typically "start up" funds are about 10 bucks or so - at least when I played.

People keep whining. (1)

Mike1024 (184871) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639543)

Imagine Massively Multiplayer Games where you can actually cash out your loot in the real world.

God, people would never quit whining. Every bug or server rollback would be accompanied by loads and loads of people whining about losing money.

At the same time, they'd need a new way of giving stuff out. If someone picked up more than thier fair share of the treasure drops, everyone would throw a big hissy fit. And every time a group achieved a goal, they couldn't give out a big bit of treasure; it'd have to be a pile of small bits.

There also wouldn't be as much good treasure, unless people who didn't play much would be subsidising people who throw away hours a day on it.

Just my $0.02,


Business plan... no, really! (1)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639546)

I perfected this online business plan back in the DOS days, when most games required you to make a stop at the "casino" to earn "money".

LastCash = Cash
Do While Cash < DesiredCash
If Cash > LastCash
LastCash = Cash

If Cash < FrustrationLevel
Reboot/Power off

Hey, it worked while playing Pokemon [] on my Game Boy! I mean, my kids' Game Boy, yeah, that's the ticket...

So what happens... (1)

mb12036 (516109) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639549)

if I want to sell some mana in real life?

As if MMORPGs weren't already addictive enough -nt (1)

dotgod (567913) | more than 11 years ago | (#6639551)

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