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Thursday, August 04, 2005

Secondary Stuff

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I recently came across this article on Tom's Hardware Guide about the MMO secondary market. It's a website that generally has decent reviews of, well, hardware. I'm actually quite sick of secondary market articles regurgitating the same old takes of "Wow, you can make money playing games! Also, Asian farmers!" So why am I linking to this article?

Well, for one it does a good job of rounding up various stories like the Ironforge Auction House buyout in WoW, the new character rental service from Gamepal, and this tale of a divorced couple arguing over the distribution of virtual items which I'd never read before. The couple apparently met online when one saved the other from being killed by another player. I wonder if he now wishes he would have just stood by idly and typed, "lol ganked" instead.

The article even does a little comparison of the places you can buy virtual cash. Strangely, there is no mention of Station Exchange. But what really interested me is that the article devotes a good amount of time to the great Nightfreeze scam, although the connection of that story to the secondary market is tenuous at best. I covered the Nightfreeze tale back in March and it's probably my favorite MMO story so it was good to see it get some play.

While we're on the topic of secondary market articles, here's another one (via Broken Toys). It's the same old rehash from the usual suspects but it features a quote from SOE spokesperson Chris Kramer regarding SOE's venture into the secondary market. He states, "If you can't beat it, own it." Way to turn my stomach. How about buying WoW since you can't beat that either? In an unrelated story, the government of China has adopted Chris Kramer's slogan.

In any case, I liked this comment from the Broken Toys post: "...if players are actively seeking to pay actual money to avoid parts of your game, you may have some design issues." I know it's a revolutionary idea to focus on actual gameplay rather than seeing how many revenue streams you can wring out of one property but, gee, I think it may have some merit.

Edit: Krones has a very interesting post up about someone who posted a thread bragging about duping items in EQII and selling them on the secondary market. I didn't see the thread he is referencing before it was taken down, but nice job Krones for preserving most of it.

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