Monday, January 7, 2008

Online Games Economy - Part 3

Not all is rosy for the trade of virtual currency or items. Even for online games / virtual worlds where such trade is legitimate, the same pitfall of fraud /scam is around.

We've all heard about the case of Eve Intergalatic Bank where almost $170,000 worth of virtual currency is wiped off. The link also provides a download of a video confession of the scammer. This has sparked much debate on slashdot.

Here's a link to the game itself, quite an interesting one:

The scam / fraud is not limited to Eve alone; the other popular virtual world where virtual money has legitimate convertible value is 2nd Life and here's a case about the Ginko Bank. This article has a full explanation of the current developments, including how new laws are used to create trust for such virtual transactions. It is still questionable whether statutory laws or traditional contract laws should be applied, afterall, one has to accept the terms and conditions of use for virtual worlds before one can participate in one.

Of course, the question of enforceability still applies. It is not sure how many of these scams are reported since players are less likely to report on small amounts. If the cases are reported to the authority, how many are acted upon?

Guess the whole virtual world / online games economy is still developing and we will continue to see new changes as people adapts to it. Of course there are many features of online games / virtual worlds worth discussing about, so let's move on.

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