As can be expected, any time I post a story with the word “counselor” in it, my in box fills up. The latest story on Queen Durga of the Blue People is no exception – right now it’s running about 50-50 between people taking me to task for mocking a brave, brave woman and counselors saying Damn, I bet we’re gonna get some interesting calls now…. More on this later.

Right now the subject is eBay sales and the game companies who love them. Specifically, an article in a trade publication about real-world spinoffs and what OSI is planning on doing to facilitate them, available here. A salient quote:

“It’s one of those exciting, humorous, scary things we didn’t anticipate,” says Ultima’s creator, Richard Garriott. “This is the first truly tangible, measurable liquid exchange between a virtual and a real economy.”

Parent company Electronic Arts was concerned that Origin didn’t try to get a piece of the auction action. But, Garriott explains, the “total amount of money exchanged compared to our business is negligible,” and he didn’t want to alienate players by “trying to squeeze a few more dollars out of them.” Instead, Garriott’s programming team plans to add a feature to Ultima Online (UO) that would enable further e-commerce by letting players evaluate their virtual holdings so they can set fair real-world prices.

Another interesting and false snippet from the article is the description of a typical hardware setup for a shard – “7 high-end PCs plus a RAID hard drive array”. Um, yeah, I’m sure that OSI goes to Costco and picks up a few Pentiums off the shelf any time they want to install a shard. In truth the last shard that ran off a standard PC was Abyss and we all remember how high-performance THAT was.

On the subject of eBay exchanges, I read elsewhere that based on the going rate of sale on eBay, the UO gold piece is worth more on the market than the Italian lira. I’m sure this amuses the Italians to no end to know that their currency is outpaced by a virtual construct.