A year ago, Sony Online Entertainment’s John Smedley revealed their decision to permit the eBay sales of their MMO items, and to profit off of those sales themselves. The move was a controversial decision, to say the least, and recently, SOE released a white paper detailing the results of the last year of sales for their Station Exhange program. Of course, the paper itself is insanely boring, so we’re gonna filter it through the learned lens of Gamasutra; more specifically, an interview they did with Mr. Smedley regarding the white paper.
The most interesting part is that SOE collected a total of $1.87 million USD over the last year, and that they did indeed have people who were supporting themselves via this avenue of nerdcraft. That result even surprised Mr. Smedley and since Sony was collecting 10% of all of the cash generated (they made around $274,000), you can imagine this sort of thing is going to continue, if not become more prevalent.
Is this sort of thing detrimental? Sure, it adds the realistic element of “whoever has the most cash is gonna be the most powerful” to our fantasy games, but one can counter that by spending more time in the game. Also, one could argue that the developers have the right to make money off of their game in any way they see fit (but I could argue that Sony is made up of corporate vampires who live to suck cash from your prone form after incapacitating you with marathon sessions of sub-par MMOs). What do you guys think? Is it cool for Sony to be promoting farming like this?