Blizzard’s long anticipated video game Diablo 3 may now rank as the best-selling, or fastest selling, PC game in history. But the crown jewel of the virtual battleground, the Real Money Auction House, has reportedly been delayed:
(Link) — “As we mentioned earlier this week, we’ve decided to move out our target launch for the real-money auction house beyond our original estimated date of May 22,” Blizzard said. “Our new estimated date for the launch of this new system is Tuesday, May 29.
“Blizzard first revealed the delay while apologizing for the game’s server problems. During D3′s first few days of availability, many users experienced disconnects and heavy lag. At times, the servers were down altogether. Considering that the game requires players to be online at all times whether they’re playing alone or with friends, this is a pretty devastating problem. Blizzard has decided to focus on stabilizing the servers for the immediate future.
I was wondering the other day, how would a conversion rate of in-game items and fake money into real money affect a company’s balance sheet? In the past an online community would be valued based on subscribers, ad revenues, value-added services and in-game add on sales, and growth. But hypothetically, if in-game items now suddenly have a real-world, tangible value of their own, and there are tens or hundreds of millions of such items, even if they’re only worth ten real cents each, wouldn’t they still add up to quite a chunk of real change?