Pioneering Economist Argues Diablo III's Auction House Removes Distinction Between Real Money & Virtual Gold
Unsurprisingly, economist Edward Castronova (who practically invented the study of virtual economies) has a very interesting review of Diablo III's real money auction house. If I'm reading him right, he's arguing that Blizzard's new service has effectively removed any meaningful distinction between real money and virtual gold:
The real money auction house erases any line between the gold piece and the dollar, as far as regulation goes. When I buy with dollars, a popup says "Sales tax may be charged on this purchase." Buy the same thing with gold pieces, no popup. Why not? What's the difference? ... If the state were to extend its regulatory scheme from dollars to gold pieces, what could Blizzard say in opposition?
Not sure what they'd say either. Especially if, as I wrote awhile ago, Diablo III's virtual economy transformed the real one.