Virtual sweat for real world money

Virtual sweat for real world money

Virtual goods are probably something you've heard of before as they are becoming quite the lucrative business for computer savvy entrepreneurs. In layman's terms they are non-existent items that some people will hand over (sometimes) large sums of money for. Starting to sound like Jack and the Beanstalks magic beans? Let's take a look at a few of the most noticeable examples to see if money really leads to in game happiness.

WOW Spectral Tiger
© World of Warcraft - Spectral Tiger

World of Warcraft is a game that everyone has of heard of. Since its release in 2001 the game now currently stands with over 7 million subscribers (As of July 2013). The game features all kinds of rare items that some players who have the desire and cash will always be hunting for. One of the most famous 'paid for' items was a spectral tiger mount (people grew bored of riding horses apparently). This particular mount was extremely hard to get hold of. To get it players had to take part in the World of Warcraft Trading card game. If said player had the fortune of the Gods on his side and the stars were aligned properly then he would be lucky enough to find the Spectral Tiger card in one of his decks. On this card was a code that the player could redeem for a ride-able spectral tiger in the on-line game so he could be the envy of his/her guild. But what if the player in question wasn't interested in riding Tony the bad-ass see-through tiger ? Well he could always sell the card on, for a rough asking price of $700 to $1500. Unfortunately due to the extreme rarity of the card you wouldn't be able to cover your rent each month by selling virtual spectral tigers. Unless you're the sort of person who struggles to fill his time in between lottery wins.

Entropia Club Neverdie
© Entropia - Club Neverdie

Entropia Universe is a MMORPG which attracts players the world over with a temptation that few can resist. You can earn real world money by playing the game. Holy Batman! That sounds like my dream job a few of you folks may be thinking, but don't forget that life isn't that easy. 10 Project Entropia Dollars are worth 1 real world dollar (American, What else?) and accumulating that much through in game crowd sourcing initiatives will take you a while. However if you've got the right item (Or space station) for sale you can still cover the rent for a month. The space station in question is called 'Club Neverdie' and as the name suggests is a nightclub, strapped to an asteroid no less. This in game nightclub was sold for 1,000,000 PED. In real world money that is $100,000 USD, which covers quite a bit of real world rent.

Battlefield 3
© Battlefield 3 Poster

If you've been around on-line first person shooters recently you may have heard of the phrase 'Pay to Win'. That's because a lot of games these days support a fancy new feature called 'Micro Transactions'. These are little extras that players can pay for that will give them a little extra boost in game to help get the winning edge or a fancy looking bit of in-game content. Big name games like Battlefield 3 had a feature where players who didn't want to grind through the necessary time using the many tanks, jets and weapons to unlock the extra abilities where given the option to pay a small fee to have them all unlocked. This type of system has become the main income for a lot of game designers who produce a free to play game that takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears to unlock the basic kit while giving the option of paying a small fee to access the man stopping hardware.

Like them or not, in game transactions are becoming the norm for a lot of gamers. There will always be someone who's either willing to pay large amounts for such items, or someone who will put in the time and effort to acquire them with the sole purpose of selling them on to the former.

 

Lloyd Mangram

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