Over a month after Diablo III’s launch, the real-money auction house is finally open in the Americas game region. Players in Australia, Mexico, and the U.S. can now sell items to each other using their respective currencies. Developer Blizzard has not set an official date for the European auction house, but plans to reveal more information soon.
The auction house was originally slated to launch by the end of May, but Blizzard delayed it due to reported account hacking. The auction house is considered a critical new element for monetizing the game and discouraging players from setting up a separate economy outside the game world for buying and selling goods from the game.
Players can reach the auction house through the existing menu option on the left side of Diablo III’s campaign screen. Switching between the in-game gold and real-money is easily done by clicking on a button showing your region’s currency. Hopeful auctioneers may only use money in their home region. If you’re a U.S. gamer and often play on European servers, you will only be able to participate in gold auctions until you switch back to the country you originally registered the game in.
If you’re planning to use currency rather than gold, you will also need to set up a Battle.net authenticator for your account. Blizzard requires all players adding funds to their Battle.net balance to use an authenticator for security reasons. If you also want to use PayPal to withdraw funds, you’ll need to sign up for an additional SMS (or text message) authentication service that will occasionally send you messages when transactions occur. That seems like a lot of steps to go through if you want to buy and sell items, but Blizzard is trying to safeguard against hacking and potential theft.
Right now, the real-money auction house only allows players to sell equipment. If you want to sell commodities, or items you make, you can only do so with in-game gold.
Blizzard hopes that most cash transactions are quick and simple, but players may experience occasional wait times from when they purchase an item and when it shows up in their game. Blizzard reserves the right to monitor all cash transactions and may delay an item’s delivery if a review is necessary.
Don't let cyber attacks kill your game! Join GamesBeat's Dean Takahashi for a free webinar on April 18 that will explore the DDoS risks facing the game industry. Sign up here.