Print 21 comment(s) - last by GonzoDaGr8.. on Feb 1 at 8:38 AM

Online auctions to ban virtual items acquired from online games

One of the newest developments in massively multiplayer online games is the sale of virtual goods. Players who have spent hours working for and accumulating items may wish to sell them for real-world money. Outside of in-game avenues, one of the more popular ways to sell ones in-game currency, items, property and characters is to list on eBay. But according to what the popular auction site had to say, sales of virtual items will soon be disallowed.

Speaking with Slashdot, Hani Durzy of eBay explained that future auctions for virtual goods from online games would be delisted “for the overall health of the marketplace.” Durzy points to eBay’s existing policy for selling digitally delivered goods and items: “The seller must be the owner of the underlying intellectual property, or authorized to distribute it by the intellectual property owner.”

eBay may be concerned about potential legal ramifications if a games publisher becomes unhappy that a third party is profiting intellectual property that it does not own. Sales of virtual goods are still currently permitted on eBay, but according to Durzy, the company will begin to delist such auctions in about one month’s time.

“Any policy decision we make...has to do with...basically a good buyer experience and good seller experience on the site,” said eBay spokesman Hani Durzy to CNET. “We want people to continue to come back, and we want people to have good user experiences on the site.”

The policy on virtual goods, however, will not apply to Second Life, which eBay has exempted from its ban. Second Life publisher Linden Lab has tried to make it clear on multiple occasions that its product is not a game, at least not in the same sense of that The World of Warcraft is.

“If someone participates in Second Life and wants to sell something they own, we are not at this point proactively pulling those listings off the site,” Durzy said. “We think there is an open question about whether Second Life should be regarded as a game.”

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A good thing
By sceptus on 1/30/2007 10:04:47 PM , Rating: 2
I'm neutral about the legality of selling things from MMO games online; it seems as if it should be perfectly legal, though in some respects you are paying for the service to play using the RPG characters on your account - I'm not sure if you legally "own" the actual characters themselves.

But I think this is a good thing overall. The spirit of gaming is ruined both by the very fact that virtual game products are being sold for real money, and the fact that often these deals are scams and people are being ripped off. Games should be played for fun, not for money.

RE: A good thing
By RaistlinZ on 1/30/2007 10:32:13 PM , Rating: 2
Guess I'd better hurry up and buy that platinum while I can.

RE: A good thing
By ira176 on 1/31/2007 3:51:07 AM , Rating: 1
I also believe that the spirit of gaming is muddied by the fact that there is no ownership in many MMO games. You buy a license to use the game, and then you buy server time to play it. I think it's crazy to have to pay twice...If the game a company produces, can't be run, and maintained by the income from the purchase price don't make the game. Ownership is becoming a rarity these days. Why should anyone have to rent a game they paid $50.00 for in the store. Crazy...

RE: A good thing
By NullSubroutine on 1/31/2007 11:45:31 AM , Rating: 2
Whether you agree or not, you are paying for new content, server space, and bandwidth. Its really not all that unrealistic considering how much MMORPGs change from initial version to its today date.

RE: A good thing
By CascadingDarkness on 1/31/2007 7:08:37 PM , Rating: 2
I think your right. Initial payment, and monthly fee are fine. What I think is bull is expansions. For example Blizzard is getting more than 80 million USD a month just from fees (random approximation 8 millions users X $10 a month).

How do they need money for expansion content? It's weak, instead of adding 20 zones and 10 max level all at once why not add a zone at a time, and 2 levels every two months when new high level zones are in production?

Until they give me figures that show your ~$10 a month is just enough to cover staff/server upkeep, plus a little bonus for profit. I will be deeply outraged they charge for expansions.

PS I played EQ1 a while, and by late in the game there was like 200 zones, 90% of which only had 3 or less players. Adding new zones is a downside for me unless it is to support higher level cap only.

RE: A good thing
By scrapsma54 on 1/31/2007 7:55:13 PM , Rating: 2
Hey , nerds are ok, its the ones who don't use that knowledge to get rich that I hate.
Now a real miracle would be to rid ebay of the bots.

"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay

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