Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Virtual Real Estate Selling for Millions

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Virtual Real Estate Selling for Millions

Article excerpt

EARLIER this year another property sale set a new record - Planet Calypso sold for $US6 million ($5.7 million).

Real estate records come and go with startling frequency and this $US6 million sale might not sound like much of a record, until you find out Planet Calypso is a fictional place on the Entropia Universe social gaming site.

Yes, somebody has actually spent $SU6 million on thin air.

Crazy as it sounds, it could actually be a brilliant investment.

The virtual world - worlds actually a contains thriving communities and booming economies. The bigger worlds are known as massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG).

What started with small purchases of game elements has grown into an environment where traditional, real-world businesses are looking to invest, as gamers start to reap million-dollar returns.

The Entropia Universe - an online game created by Swedish company Mindark - has hit the record books over the years for some of the biggest sales of all kinds of non-existent items.

The Guinness World Records Book lists Entropia Universe in both 2004 and 2008 as having the most expensive virtual goods ever sold.

The 2004 record was the $US26,500 paid for an island auctioned online. Treasure Island was bought by an avatar (digital alter ego) named Zachurm "Deathifier" Emegen.

In 2005, a virtual 'Asteroid Space Resort' was bought by Jon "Neverdie" Jacobs for $US100,000, setting another new record.

The Asteroid was renamed Club NEVERDIE, after the new owner's in-game Avatar, and made headlines around the world, not only for the purchase price, but also for plans to turn the resort into a venue for "Live Entertainment in Virtual Reality".

Later in 2005, the BBC reported that "Deathifier" had recouped his investment in Treasure Island in less than a year.

In 2009, the Crystal Palace Space Station was auctioned and Buzz Erik Lightyear paid $US330,000. …

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