Tuesday 6 January 2015

Officially Sanctioned RMT

A recent article on The Nosy Gamer got me thinking again about something I've often wondered about in the past.

What would happen if an MMO allowed players to sell in game currency (or other in game assets) for real money?

For example imagine an officially sanctioned auction/market type system, monitored and policed by the game company where players can buy and sell in game currency for real money.

The game company would act as banker taking a percentage of the real money proceeds off every sale and players would have a legal (legal isn't quite the right word but it's close), much safer and more secure option to make some real life money playing a game.

Of course the bots and boxers would be all over something like that, but that really isn't very different than how it is now.

One thing that would need to change is the game company would have to start making real efforts to find and stop cheaters instead of just going through the motions and pretending they care about it. They'd have to become much quicker at catching cheaters and be far more effective (probably ruthless too) in dealing with them.


  1. Just take a look at how well that went for Diablo III RMAH to see why this is a bad idea for any game http://www.joystiq.com/2013/03/28/diablo-3-director-jay-wilson-auction-houses-really-hurt-game

  2. There is a game that does this already. It's called Entropia Universe (formerly Project Entropia), also sometimes referred to as Planet Calypso. I've thought about playing just to see how the world operates.

  3. Account hacking is always argued ss the reason against. A legit exchange system just makes it easier to offload capital in a hurry.

  4. This already happens with Eve in a sense. ISK is traded to players for their published contributions to a news website. Gamers go to the site to read the articles. Then news website generates Real Money income for its owners through advertisements. CCP has sanctions this as a form of RMT.

  5. The Diablo III RMAH is a terrible example. It wasn't very well designed, it's like they put no thought at all into how players would use and abuse both the RMAH and the game itself.

    Blizzard accounts are notoriously not secure (using email addresses as logon ID? DUH!) and have had repeated problems with major bugs that adversely affect the economy (duping bugs, teleport bugs, speed hacks, etc.). Blizzard wasn't very effective at getting rid of bots and multiboxing was completely ok in with them too.

    With proper design, good security and an efficient, effective cheat prevention team it might work a lot better.

  6. Paypal, the banks, credit card companies, Amazon and a multitude of other businesses manage to handle online transactions just fine. There's no reason why game companies couldn't too if they put a little thought into design and security instead of just slapping the first thing they think of online and expecting everything to be fine.

  7. I've heard of it before, but IIRC that's a strange game, more of a virtual world simulator than what I'd consider a real game.

  8. But is EVE really a game, or is it a sci-fi world simulator? Does EVE have a failure state, where an objective observer can come in and say, "That's it, the game is over, player A has lost"? I think calling EVE a hobby or a pasttime is more accurate than calling it a game.

  9. True but I suspect those mentioned have a lot more capital to invest in making their security infallible.

    Besides, I'd rather CCP focused on games design for me to enjoy rather than spending time on increasing security resources because a) they need to fix the holes or b) it didnt work so they have to hunt down all the extra hackers.

    In the end I don't expect to earn a living from EVE, sure it would be cool to go completely from playing for free to playing to earn but thats what my IRL job is for, im unlikely to earn more in EVE and im not sure it would be healthy to think of it that way. I expect to earn enjoyment, preferably for free.

  10. Before ended reading, also got Diablo on my mind.
    Dont think security is an issue, it's more like excuse.
    Once had my WOW account overtaken, what was strange like hell for me, as i do have a lot knowleadge about security, and never done anything to risk my account... it happend any way, lucky for me had all notyfications from blizzard enabled, and got notified about toon transfer.
    After this, from one of news found that Blizzard expanded hardware token, to Android :D Installed it, and after that (few years from that day) never had a problem with account.
    Now, about topic :)
    Problem i see here (in my humble opinion) is that most mmo, like WOW or EVE are played by people around the world. I expect this to make a

    headache to company accountants.
    Lets be honest if we look at taxes in: UK, US and for example here at Poland.
    At UK, i do bolive Inland Revenue will gove no sh!t,
    at US, they will not, as long amount will be small,
    in Poland.... ROTFL, dont ask ( a bit better then in China :P )

    I think there is not good system, and it's way easer to check eBay like auctions
    (most countries has it own) and ban for selling,
    then trying to get 'cut' of money from this, as probably it will not cover costs of

  11. hamsandwichesforlunch7 January 2015 at 08:38

    legal (legal isn't quite the right word but it's close)

    "Officially sanctioned" perhaps?