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Blizzard and other MMO devs declare war!

Dec 20, 2007

Major MMO makers like Funcom and SOE are on board with a new company that promises to "legitimize" the real money trade of virtual goods, but World of Warcraft house Blizzard tellsNext Generationthat it's still against the practice regardless.

"We do not have any plans to support out-of-game trading for World of Warcraft anytime in the near future," a Blizzard rep tells Next Generationwhen asked if it would ever consider backing the recently announced Live Gamer virtual item marketplace. "The game's Terms of Use clearly states that all World of Warcraft content is the property of Blizzard Entertainment, and Blizzard does not allow 'in-game' items to be sold for real money.

"Not only do we believe that doing so would be illegal, but it also has the potential to damage the game economy and overall experience for the many thousands of others who play World of Warcraft for fun."

Blizzard is standing firm with its previously-established Terms of Use, even following Monday's announcement of New York-based Live Gamer, which describes itself as a "fully transparent, secure, publisher-sanctioned marketplace" for virtual goods.

Live Gamer is unique because it has the support of online gaming companies including Funcom, Sony Online Entertainment, 10tacle Studios, Acclaim, GoPets LTD and Ping0 Interactive Limited. Often, real-money transaction mediators, such as IGE, find themselves at odds with game makers, as such trading can ruin a game's immersiveness and cause in-game economies to go off-balance.

One of Live Gamer's co-founders is Mitch Davis, former CEO of Microsoft-owned in-game ad firm Massive Inc. and CEO of licensed game house Brash Entertainment.

The virtual item market is worth $1.8 billion annually, according to to a June New York Times article.

Blizzard's statement continues, "In order to promote a fun and fair environment for all of our players, we constantly investigate any violation of our Terms of Use and will take any and all actions necessary, from suspensions and permanent bans up to legal action, to stop this behavior. While we can understand the temptation to purchase items for real money, we feel that players can find ample equipment and money for their characters within the game through their own adventuring and questing."

Courtesy of Next Generation