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If I Only Could, I'd Make A Deal With God, Or Failing That Publishers

A ‘legitimate market for virtual trading’? You’d have to get the game maintainers involved, I’d think.

Oh. Wait.

Live Gamer is partnering with top massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) publishers and virtual world operators worldwide, including Funcom GMBH, Sony Online Entertainment, 10TACLE STUDIOS, Acclaim, GoPets LTD, and Ping0 Interactive Limited (maintainers of Hellgate London).

Gamasutra has an interview which goes into more detail:

“That’s when we both took a look at what [item sale platform] IGE was doing, and all of the bad things happening in the industry. There was a lot of black market activity, publishers were getting upset at IGE — and this kind of virtual item trading has been going on since Ultima. There’s obviously been a big uproar,” says Schneider.

But, as he points out, this is a market that can be valued at as much as 2 billion dollars. “There’s clearly demand, but it’s going to the wrong place,” he says. And in addition to issues like fraud and deception, publishers were swamped with customer support calls from users confounded by bad trades. Andy’s solution? “We decided to create a company that would live or die based on publisher relations.”