eBay bans sales of virtual game loot
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Virtual World of Warcraft weapons for sale on the internet.
AdvertisementeBay has banned auctions of virtual gold, armour and
other booty amassed in World of Warcraft and other online computer games.
The California-based internet auction house decided to bar sales of what was essentially computer code representing riches, swords and other items in games due to "legal complexities" regarding ownership.
"We decided it was best to just not allow sales of them," Ebay spokesman Hani Durzy said of virtual game goods.
"We are not saying they are legal and we are not saying they are illegal."
eBay continues to allow auctions of items from virtual societies such as Second Life, where people represented by animated figures called "avatars" buy and sell homes and other "property" made of computer codes.
"Right now, Second Life is not considered a game so we are not applying the restriction to it," Durzy said.
In massive multiplayer online role-playing games such as Warcraft, gamers represented by avatars wage battles and undertake quests, gathering gold, weaponry, armor and other virtual goods along the way.
Enterprising young gamers have earned livings playing Warcraft and selling their booty online to those willing to pay to advance quickly through the different levels of the games.
Durzy compared the ban on eBay auctions of virtual game goods to the firm's decisions to bar sales of alcohol or tobacco, which are lawful products controlled by complex governmental regulations.
eBay removes auctions of virtual game items found on its website, Durzy said. The policy was put in place within the past few weeks.
"Remember, our policies are ever evolving," Durzy said. "We will change them if the communities, state of the culture, or laws dictate such."
eBay would not disclose the volume of sales of virtual game items it had recorded on its website, which reported $A53.5 billion worth of online auction trades in 2006.
In Australia, eBay has just registered it's 5 millionth member. According to the company, online spending on eBay Australia reached a record $12.48 billion in 2006, a 63 per cent jump over the last 12 months.
Launched in 2004, World of Warcraft boast over 8 million members worldwide with almost half of those subscribers living in China.