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Default MMORPG.com - Brad McQuaid/Roger Kipe Debate @ MMORPG.com

December 7th, 2006, 19:25
Loathe them or love them, secondary markets - the buying and selling of virtual world items and characters for real world money - are a very real part of most every MMO in existence. Sigil CEO and Vanguard Executive Producer Brad Mcquaid and former owner and operator of YourVirtualSeller (a secondary market service) Roger Kipe debate this heated issue at MMORPG.com.
Brad McQuaid: The secondary market can be good for the average gamer if they want to purchase items or characters as opposed to earning them in-game. Many people want to have these items or characters but either do not have the time to earn them and/or the desire to put the time in necessary to earn them. By using the secondary market, they can get around the otherwise necessary time invested. That said, given that these games are about communities and not single player games, the actions of a single player can and does affect other players - the adage 'no man is an island' applies. Therefore, if the game wasn't designed for purchase of in-game goods or characters via outside means (in other words, buying them from the secondary market), they are doing something that harms that game as a whole. Their action in and of itself may not have immediately apparent negative effects on the game, but over time the more people who take part in the secondary market, the more the game is harmed as a whole.
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December 7th, 2006, 19:25
A very interesting debate, because it's about a very interesting issue, that has so many untested legal ramifications.

Should an MMORPG company sell their items in a game to solve this? If they establish a virtual item has real value, they better be ready to handle real life theft/legal cases with law enforcement if one player scams another out of his possession of that item. Will GM's of the future actually be real life law enforcement, and what if someone from Germany steals an item from somone in France that just purchased an item? International laws and procedures are now in play.. and for what? .. a flaming sword with plus damage on it in a virtual game.

The truth is, if game companies want to really help their customers, they will take the middle road, and become the in game broker of the transactions. No game company will ever be able to do away with this, so I see their only options as finding ways to guide and control it.
Possibly issuing a special 'license' for reselling of thier virtual in game items that helps them 'tax' the sell.

So many people have played the 'acheivement game' already, in UO, EQ, DAOC, etc.. and frankly, they just want to be in the mainstream of play and aren't interested in 'grinding for epics'.. and no game company is going to change that with a 'policy'.

And for the record, this is just opinion, I've never paid real life money to anyone for any virtual item in any game.
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