It's been one of the longest-running debates in the MMO industry: whether or not real money trading
(RMT) helps or hurts players and the game worlds they inhabit. The Ottawa Citizen
shed some light on the subject by showing how the games industry at large has dealt with the subject, from players dealing in grey market trades to studios overseeing RMT in the hopes of keeping players' bank accounts safe while lining the studios' pockets with additional income.
Two examples were given of players engaging in illicit -- and ill-advised (Massively disclaimer) -- RMT activities. One player said that he made $7,000 in 2001 by purchasing EverQuest
characters from bored players and reselling them to others, even though this was against the game's EULA. He likened it to real-world corporate practices: "It was kind of like buying a company and breaking (it) down and selling off all its assets, and flipping it for more cash."
Another player admitted to spending $50 in hopes of gaining 2,000 gold in World of Warcraft
, but the third-party company simply took his cash and never delivered the gold.
The article notes how games like Second Life
and companies like Sony and Microsoft are embracing RMT even as the issue remains taboo in many MMOs.