Wednesday, January 31, 2007

eBay likes Second Life.

eBay on Monday confirmed its decision to ban auctions for the characters, currency, weapons, attire and accounts of online games such as World of Warcraft, City of Heroes and others. By proactively delisting auctions for property from virtual worlds and online games, eBay may be effectively forcing players who participate in such trades into the hands of giant third-party operations that buy and sell virtual goods. Given that a significant slice of the multi-hundred-million-dollar business took place on eBay until now, the move portends a significant shift in who controls the market for virtual goods. In most cases, publishers of online games include in their terms of service a prohibition on so-called real-money trades (RMTs), in which people buy and sell online games' virtual assets for real money. Players who violate such rules can be banned. But because eBay has dominated the auction market for RMTs, there's little question that the short-term winner in this latest circumstance will be sites such as Internet Gaming Entertainment ( ) that control the third-party market.
Second Life however has escaped this decision because it's defined as 'not a game'.
There are numerous password-stealing trojans specifically designed for World of Warcraft and these other massively multiplayer online games. The passwords are used to steal gold and other items from victims so that it can be re-sold online, a perfect way out for money laundering in most cases. I thaught that eBay did this to stop the misuse of these things. Strange ... Second Life is definitely also one of the targets of those password stealers.