Latest in Gaming

Image credit:

EVE Online player loses USD 19,000 in shady virtual currency deal

James Egan

The sci-fi game EVE Online is set apart from many other massively multiplayer online games by its economy. While there are currently problems with the game's market due to a serious exploit, the economy isn't getting reset anytime soon. The currency of EVE's virtual economy is the Inter Stellar Kredit (ISK). As in the real world, money can be power in EVE's 'New Eden' galaxy. Most online games built around a virtual economy will ultimately need to deal with the real money trading (RMT) issue -- either make it a bannable offense or support and regulate it in some way. CCP Games figured if RMT is happening whether they want it to or not, they may as well have some way to regulate it.

EVE Online
has a few legitimate ways to bring real world money into the game. Game Time Cards (EVE Time Codes) can be converted to ISK without risk of getting your teeth banhammered in by CCP Games. They offer a secure way to sell game time to players where neither party can be scammed, and more recently a way to turn game time into an item (PLEX) that can be sold on the open market in-game. When a player buys that item, he or she extends their account subscription. The upside for some players is that they can actually pay their subscription fees in the ISK they've earned in-game, for others it enables them to buy a faction battleship or a number of other virtual items.

But... some people just go too far with all this, and buy ISK in huge amounts. Even worse is doing so outside of the EULA-safe methods. This was the case with an EVE player in Denmark, who paid 100,000 Danish Krones (the rough equivalent of 13,500 Euros or USD 19,000) for currency from a shady ISK seller outside of the secure system, and was ultimately left with empty pockets, even after the case ended up in court.

The case is mentioned on the blog of a player named Wotlankor and on the EVE forums as well, which has an (unofficial) English translation of the Danish court's decision on the matter. The case specifically focuses on payment agreements between VISA, PayPal, and an ISK selling company. There are many things that could be said about the questionable logic of dropping close to twenty grand on virtual currency that holds no legitimate value outside of a computer game. But among the commentary from EVE's players themselves on shady ISK deals, perhaps Abrazzar sums it up best: "Buying ISK is like picking up the soap and hoping no one notices." Not the loveliest of sentiments, but the analogy is dead on.

[Via Wotlankor]

From around the web

ear iconeye icontext filevr