Today’s WTF: Virtual MMO Real Estate SOLD for $335,000

Club Neverdie Entropia

Some people may have too much time on their hands. Some may have too much money. Some guys, like Jon Jacobs, have a little bit of both; or at least now he does. Jon Jacobs sold his in-game property for a whopping $335,000 dollars. The property was in the Swedish-made MMORPG Entropia Universe3, a game which looks like a clash of Second Life and Star Wars Galaxies where avatars can go around and do pretty much anything.

The property is one which Jacobs had been managing for over 5 years. Jacobs bought Club Neverdie in 2005, taking out a $100,000 mortgage on his home. The club sits on an asteroid around Entropia’s first planet, Planet Calypso. Club Neverdie hosts in-game shopping, clubbing with live DJs, hunting, real cash prizes and more. The thing about Entropia Universe is that it runs off a real cash economy, where players can buy in-game currency (PED – Project Entropia Dollars) with real money and then redeem it back into real world funds at a fixed exchange rate. Jacobs’ business brought him an annual income of around $200,000 a year, allowing him to live comfortably with his family. Pretty sweet set up – he even has his own theme song.

The sale of the property netted him just over half a million in cash, with the largest chunk being sold to an avatar named John Foma Kalun, who paid $335,000 for it. This tops the previous largest virtual transaction, which was the sale of the Crystal Palace Space Station for $330,000 back in 2009.

So who’s the guy who deals out $335,000 big ones for fake real estate? A man named Yan Panasjuk, who had this to say for himself… 

“When motion pictures were first invented there were a lot of critics saying that it is a novelty act and it would never amount to anything nor will be able to make any real money once the novelty wears off – last time i checked Avatar has grossed 2.7 billion dollars world wide. Most recent example is MTV and Internet but then you know those stories well enough. Virtual Universe is the next logical step in world entertainment and although there are a lot of critics and people shaking heads it is here to stay and take its ranks among the greats.”

There’s a lot more to the story and past of these two gentlemen, along with much more about Entropia Universe, but let’s talk more about the sale of virtual property. The idea of selling in-game items and other virtual things is nothing new. From my days back in the late 90s of playing Ultima Online, items and property could be sold for real cash outside of the game world. But with recent moves like the banning of gold farming/trading in MMOs such as World of Warcraft, the idea of in-game items selling for real cash is obviously one of controversy. In games like Entropia Universe with a real cash micro-economy, the idea of having virtual goods hold real value may not be too far-fetched. If a game can earn you $200,000 a year, maybe there is something to this.

So what do you guys think? Are games where virtual items can be traded for real cash wrong? Or is this style of in game micro-economy the next step for MMOs and the gaming industry?

Source – Maximum PC

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