Blizzard's Diablo 3 Takes Gaming to a New Level with Auction Houses Dealing with Real Money

Written by Dr. Andrew Doan & Brooke Strickland on .

When I first played Diablo, eBay banned the sale of virtual goods online. A Windforce bow sold for $200 on eBay and a Stone of Jordan (SOJ) ring sold for $10 dollars each. The SOJs were used as the in game currency. The going rate for Godly Plate of the Whale were 20-30 SOJs. In a recent news release, Blizzard announced the implementation of an in-game auction house where players can use real cash to sell and buy items.

According to the report, the auction house will be like an "eBay for Sanctuary," allowing players to put items up for sale in each of the game's various regions around the world. Blizzard will take a fixed fee out of the eventual sale for listing and selling the virtual item. Players can either keep the cash in their account to use on other Blizzard-related items, or cash out and pay a set percentage-based withdrawal fee. So far Blizzard hasn't revealed what third-party financial institution it plans to use.

"Ultimately, players want it," Pardo said in regards to the cash-based auction house. "If Blizzard doesn't do this system, I'm not so naive to think that [third-party auctions are] not going to happen. In the past we've really taken this hardline stance of, we will just try to stamp it down in every place that we can. And we could take that approach. But I actually think that with Diablo, it actually will end up being a good thing, at least something that players will be excited about. It really is something that a lot of players are already looking to do."

This latest Diablo 3 auction house development will allow players to think they can make a living playing Diablo 3. Some will make enough money to live, but at the expense of real-life neglect. Placing cash value on virtual items with a variable reward system is similar to playing virtual slot machines. After a certain number of kills, players will find rare drops, unique weapons, and powerful rings worth hundreds of dollars... a system similar to gambling for cash and prizes.