A new portal for trading virtual goods called Live Gamer announced its first funding today, promising to add some structure and protections to online transactions.
As massively multi-player online games (MMORPGS) like World of Warcraft have gained popularity, real-world markets have sprung up for everything from online currency and items, to favors, to entire player accounts. For the most part, players buy and sell with no oversight or regulation, a situation Live Gamer promises to change.
Live Gamer will stay on the good side of game publishers by only allowing trades according to the rules of the game, and spending time preventing strategies like “gold farming,” in which some players use the game only to accumulate gold or items in the virtual world then sell them for real-world currency.
Several entrenched competitors to the company already exist, part of the unapproved “gray zone” of trading that publishers find undesirable. Two of the largest are GamePal and IGE, which appear to make much of their income from gold farmers based in the developing world.
If gamers decide to follow the rules and trade through Live Gamer, they’ll receive the bulk of the sales price. Some 10 percent of each sale will be split between Live Gamer and the publisher, with the remainder going to the seller — making it roughly as profitable as using Amazon or eBay to sell goods.
The company already has some clients on board, including Funcom and Sony. However, Vivendi, the publisher of the current most-popular online game World of Warcraft, has said it will not work with Live Gamer.
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