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Feature: 'IGE: Inside The MMO Trading Machine '

Gold farmers, digital ownership, and grey market currency: today's main Gamasutra feature explores the murky convergence of in-game and real world economies with James Cl...
Gold farmers, digital ownership, and grey market currency: today's main Gamasutra feature explores the murky convergence of in-game and real world economies with James Clarke, chief operating officer for the Asian branch of the IGE, for a look behind the curtain into the workings of the MMO trading titan. Topics discussed include the ownership of in-game items, why gold selling can be a "great business opportunity" for Chinese suppliers, and the concept of power-leveling as 'day care', with the introduction explaining: "Anyone associated with online games and MMOs in particular will likely know of dominant in-game item trading firm IGE, which was founded in 2001 by Brock Pierce and Alan Debbonneville. The two principals were, according to the company, "keen to identify the need for a safe, reliable trading platform to support the then 'gray market' RMT of virtual items between MMO game players." But, of course, the concept of trading virtual items and currency has also been a controversial one at times, with the item trading and 'gold farming' phenomenon much remarked upon in the media and gaming world. The situation was brought to a head earlier this year, when U.S. magazine PC Gamer announced that it would no longer carry print ads from MMO item-selling companies." You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the subject, including plenty more specifics on IGE's history and plans (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).

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