I was gonna post this in general, but since it's related to WoW I figured I would post it here instead.
Whilst America is suffering an economic downturn, gas prices rise day after day and the dollar weakens under pressure, one American is going against this trend; virtually. An avid Internet gamer from Chicago IL, known only as Jake, has made history by making the largest purchase of “virtual currency” ever reported. He did so through the game World of Warcraft, purchasing 1,000,000 Gold (the game’s currency) at a cost of just over $40,000.
The exchange of “real money” for its virtual gaming equivalent, whilst an insane concept to many, is nothing new. Real-Money Trading, or RMT companies as they are better known, have been around since the early days of Ultima Online but only became newsworthy with the release of World of Warcraft. The game’s population of almost 11 million subscribers makes it a lucrative marketplace for third-party companies, with no shortage of customers and suppliers (though the majority of the industry’s “product” is sourced through China). Industry analysts have predicted the RMT market to be worth around $2 billion in 2008, with a large proportion of that coming for World of Warcraft.
Though many gaming addicts will admit to purchasing virtual currencies and services, perhaps spending as much as a couple hundred dollars at a time, one wonders why someone would spend so much money on what is essentially pixels on a computer screen.
“My friends ask me, ‘You could have bought a car, a boat or put down a deposit on a house - why waste all that money on a game?’. I don’t like cars, I get sea-sick and I already own a couple of properties of my own.”, Jake contends. “I find less sense in blowing $40,000 on a BMW - at least WoW Gold retains its value.” You can almost understand his point - almost. After all, expendable income is all about enjoyment, whether it’s expensive holidays, a luxury sports car or the ability to own (literally) your friends at your favorite game. But still…
The lucky recipients of this record order were <censored>, <censored> provider of WoW Gold, based out of <censored>. “When we saw the order request come in, we just laughed; it’s not unusual to get joke requests”, said <censored>, the Customer Service Leader managing the shift the order came in on. “But the guy persisted and provided us with a phone number that matched up with his registered address. When we realized that this might be a serious order, we took the steps to further verify Jake’s identity and the validity of his request with his bank.” Within a few days the deal was done and Jake was on his way to being what must certainly be the only World of Warcraft millionaire on the planet… though he’ll have to spread the wealth over atleast 5 characters as the currency limit for a single player (only ever acheived twice before in the game’s history) is just over 210,000 Gold.
Jake plans to gear up his characters with the best of everything the game has to offer, but he’s not forgotten his fellow guild members either. His girlfriend, also a World of Warcraft player, was pleasantly surprised when she found a 50,000 Gold 21st birthday gift from Jake in her in-game mailbox. It’s no diamond ring, but it’s pretty close in WoW!