Today's main Gamasutra feature
summarizes a fascinating new Sony Online white paper revealing specific stats on its Station Exchange MMO item selling site, also talking to SOE CEO John Smedley about the controversial service.
In this excerpt, Smedley explains why Sony commissioned the white paper in the first place:
”I'm interested in shining the light of day on this subject. It's real. It's a billion dollar industry worldwide and we as game makers need to seriously work to handle it in-game. There is rampant farming in these games (yes, ours included). I believe we should work to include some element of this in some games, but do a better job of cracking down on it in a big way. I have personally had it affect my gameplay and I think it's very negative.
Our goal for getting this information out there is to show exactly what's going on so everyone understands. With this kind of money involved, it's not going away. I strongly believe in the idea of separate servers to allow people that want to engage in this sort of activity to do it.”
He later reveals his surprise at how much money some players have make through the use of the Sony Station Exchange, which acts as a sanctioned online trading dock for items and equipment won through SOE online games:
”I will admit the amount that some of these folks were making did come as a surprise. I do think it's cool that a person could put themselves through college by doing this. If it's done on servers where other people choose to participate in this kind of activity I think it's a great thing.”
You can now read the full Gamasutra feature
on the subject, with more from Smedley regarding the Sony Station Exchange service, as well as a link to SOE's full white paper (no registration required, please feel free to link to this column from external websites).