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The Prince and The Pauper: The Transaction of Virtual and Real-Life Capital

Very interesting arguments arose from player responses as to their views on the sale and purchase of virtual items, currency and accounts for RL currency. One common argument for the acceptability of these transactions rests on the inherent nature of capitalism. More importantly, some argue that the real underlying transaction is a transaction of time rather than a transaction of virtual items.

I have had friends purchase items from EBay and they have been very happy with the result. I have never been involved myself. I find it much more fun to earn the item rather than purchase it. Though, I do think the idea of making a business by selling virtual goods is intriguing and should not be the 'big deal' many game companies have made of it. These goods have value to many and many simply don't have the time to invest to get the items they want. Just like in life, if you have money, why shouldn't you be able to buy it? [CoH, F, 44]

There are some people that are vehemently against the sale of virtual goods for real life money. However, these 'virtual goods' are things that you could get in any case. Merely paying real life money for them indicates to you that your relaxing time after work is worth real life money to you. I have a friend who makes $50,000 annually. He often buys virtual goods because his time off work is just as valuable as his time at work. Rather than camp a rare drop for 12 hours, he could be working 12 hours and use the money earned to buy the item he needs. It's all about how much you value your time. I have never sold anything, because I never have anything valuable enough to sell. I but I confess that I have bought virtual money for real money before. And I don't regret it. [EQ, M, 22]

I have purchased characters/accounts via 'playerauctions.' My reasons were simple.. I wanted a high level character of a different class and my playtime had been severely cut. I didn't feel like putting then endless hours into the needed leveling and weighed out the value of my time verses the cost of just buying an already made character. At the time I made 18/hr. So, I considered -- could I get a character to 60 in 10 hours of my time? Of course not. I don't regret the choice, I have since purchased several accounts. I have sold things in the past to liquidate from a game I was quitting (Ultima Online) and generally have had positive experiences. [EQ, F, 28]

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Posted on October 10, 2004 | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)

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