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|Type||Privately Owned Subsidiary|
|Industry||Virtual Goods, Secondary Markets, Collectible Card games, Gaming Accessories, Cosplay|
|Products||Virtual Currency, Game Accounts, Items, Game Guides in over 100 game titles|
|Employees||30 (2009) |
PlayerAuctions is an online platform for players of massively multiplayer online games (MMO) to buy, sell and trade digital assets such as in-game currency, items, accounts, and power leveling services. The site is a neutral marketplace that supports player-to-player trading for popular MMOs such as RuneScape, Old School RuneScape, World of Warcraft, Diablo III, EverQuest, Eve Online, League of Legends and over 400 other games.
PlayerAuctions emerged in November 1999 as an auction hosting platform for MMORPG players interested in digital asset trading. The buying and selling of in-game assets such as virtual currency is also a practice known as "real money trading" or RMT. On 1 April 2004, the site was purchased by IGE). In July 2007, PlayerAuctions was taken over by Korean digital asset exchange giant Itemmania. PlayerGuardian technology was introduced by way of a Public Beta in May 2008. The site was then officially relaunched in November 2008, continuing in their traditional focus on player-to-player trading only. PlayerAuctions now stands as a direct response to the auction house behemoth, Ebay's decision to ban the trading of virtual goods.
PlayerGuardian and Itemmania
Player Auctions does not directly aggregate or sell game assets. Rather, PlayerAuctions lists items, assets and accounts for sale from third-party sellers. When a transaction occurs, PlayerAuctions holds both the payment and assets in escrow until delivery has been verified by the buyer, at which point the buyer's funds are released to the seller. Using this system, which PlayerAuctions refers to as "PlayerGuardian," neither buyer nor seller shares personal information, and transactions are guaranteed. The PlayerGuardian system was developed by Itemmania in the Korean market, where it has enabled more than 30 million transactions.
Enabling direct transactions between MMO players is designed to cut down on the fraud and scams that have plagued the RMT market for years, and also to restrict the practice of "gold farming." Gold farming involves the hiring of players solely for the purpose of collecting in-game currency and selling it on the open market.
Controversy over secondary markets for MMOGs
The RMT or secondary market for in-game MMOG assets has been controversial for a number of years, with many publishers forbidding the practice in their end-user license agreements (EULA). However, current research estimates that approximately $1.4 billion (US) dollars of virtual goods are bought and sold by players around the world every year. Pro-RMT advocates[who?] argue that the secondary market increases the overall market by keeping "used" goods in circulation and bringing in new players, similar to secondary markets for autos and houses in the real world. RMT critics[who?] note that gold-farming continues to be a problem and harms the quality of the games, and that being able to buy assets goes against the original intentions of the publishers, along with being unfair to those gamers who simply play the game and "grind" from level to level.
- "PlayerAuctions Sets up Exchange for Digital Assets in Online Games" 11 November 2008. Venturebeat Digital Media
- http://www.playerauctions.com/"PlayerAuctions Website
- http://hub.playerauctions.com/"The HUB, our official blog
- "Diary of a Black Market Profiteer" 13 November 2008. Ars Tecnica
- "Ebay bans Auctions of Virtual Goods" 29 January 2007. CNET News
- "PlayerAuctions Launches Exchange for the Game Obsessed" 12 November 2008. New York Times Online