Saturday, August 13, 2005

Counterfeit goods rock virtual world - New Scientist

So long as I'm talking games...

The editorial team here at KingLeonard - the Weblog have been following with great interest the market in virtual goods able to be purchased in the real world. We even brought news of Sony Exchange, a legitimate auction house that allows the auctioning of online goods in Sony's EverQuest 2 game.

Well, I knew that market forces were strong, but who knew they'd show up in EverQuest?

New Scientist Breaking News - Counterfeit goods rock virtual world

"Players who immerse themselves in the hugely popular online fantasy game EverQuest2 last week saw the price of everyday goods – like the Wand of the Living Flame and the Dark Shield of the Void – plummet after some participants discovered a way to duplicate valuable items for free.

The replication trick was made possible by a bug in the software that underpins the game. By running through a few simple processes, the players found they could miraculously generate two items out of one. Before the bug could be stamped out, the resulting glut of “counterfeit” goods swamped the game’s internal market and drove inflation of its currency up by 20%.

Although the scam involved entirely imaginary objects, it also had real-world implications. In July 2005, the game's parent company Sony Online Entertainment launched an official trading site for EverQuest2 players, called Station Exchange, which lets them buy and sell objects and characters for both virtual, and real, cash."

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