RMT to disappear forever. Just kidding.

From fellow muckrackers at Slashdot, we learn that eBay is going to enforce its ban on MMO RMT.

Will this have any discernable impact on the financial traffic? Will it simply move it to less savory locations?

Will players actually behave any differently, or will the fluidity of online markets make this just a blip on the radar?

And has Sony, with the Station Exchange, just started to look a little bit smarter?

Weigh in, dear reader.


Comments on RMT to disappear forever. Just kidding.:

Gordon Walton says:

This activity will find new venues, and be of similar size later this year. The underlying market (and human behaviors) still exist no matter how the activity is surpressed. Without actual physical coercion (i.e. laws leading to large fines or jail time), I see very little changing as it relates to size and scope.

In essense, the arguments around this seem morality based (even a hint of faith-based), and you can't legislate morality.

Posted Jan 29, 2007 12:45:26 PM | link

Matt Mihaly says:

Agreed with Gordon. Makes no real difference. RMT is driven by player demand, and someone else will just fulfill that player demand.

--matt

Posted Jan 29, 2007 1:11:22 PM | link

Rory says:

This is about as effective as the MPAA/RIAA suing a file-sharing network into oblivion in the hopes that it will stop piracy. There will always be alternatives. On the other hand, I'm glad to see that eBay is committed to enforcing something that they used to only frown upon.

Posted Jan 29, 2007 2:16:27 PM | link

Jeff Freeman says:

eBay was the least savory location.

Station Exchange doesn't seem to matter... IGE offers better prices.

Posted Jan 29, 2007 5:15:34 PM | link

magicback (Frank) says:

Here's a business play.

Prune off poor risk/reward business lines, support (if indirectly) other independent business taking on these business lines (say Paypal and other supply chain services), and acquire back these business lines if the risk/reward profile changes for the better.

I'm beginning to sense a trend where VCs, investment bankers, and private equity investors have build a body of analysis and knowledge on this area and are advising their "client" or directing their "investments" to move away from facilitating unsanctioned RMT in the US and offshore them (say to China) like IGE.

Frank

Posted Jan 29, 2007 7:57:27 PM | link

blaze@blaze.com says:

Secondlife gets an exemption to the ban, check out the post on News.com

http://news.com.com/2061-10797_3-6154277.html

Posted Jan 30, 2007 12:14:50 AM | link

Andrew Crystall says:

Matt, I disagree.
This is going to make a difference, alright.

The demand for buying will be there, but Yantis etc. will hold a bigger share of the market. And their tactics of things like getting guild leaders to sell off the guild wallet of gold. Which loses you 30+ customers when this is discovered a week down the road...as opposed to several personal trades which MIGHT cost you oen customer when one person gets burned.

Jeff Freeman, I'm afraid I find your comment there downright funny in the light of that.

This is no more than the usual ebay catagory trimming and selective morality. They ban certain metal bands, they ban you selling your own music on CD, they ban a whole bunch of things and then they raise their prices.

Bring on a Web 2.0 auction house, allready.

Posted Jan 30, 2007 6:36:47 AM | link

Luis Villa says:

Reading between the lines, I really doubt this is about morality- this is about controlling costs and uncertainty, and enforcing their own EULA- which states clearly that "The seller must be the owner of the underlying intellectual property, or authorized to distribute it by the intellectual property owner."

As Who Controls the Internet documents, eBay spends a lot of time and money on dealing with transactions gone awry, and goes to a great deal of effort to make sure that their transactions are legal.

Given that SL is the only MMO[thing] I know of whose EULA stipulates that the users legally own the content (and hence that the users can legally sell the content) it makes perfectly good sense for eBay to ban non-SL content from being sold, since (legally) the sellers don't own that stuff and that creates costs and uncertainty for eBay.

IMHO, this is a good thing- it will force game creators to be more upfront about who owns what and why. I just wish eBay's messaging had been more forceful and clear, instead of just semi-leaking it to /. Once more MMOs are more clear about ownership, eBay and others will be the first to play up these types of sales, I'm sure.

Posted Jan 30, 2007 11:19:38 AM | link

Doug says:

Sony Station looking smart? What is this world coming to.

Posted Jan 30, 2007 2:35:55 PM | link

Jeff Freeman says:

The demand for buying will be there, but Yantis etc. will hold a bigger share of the market. And their tactics of things like getting guild leaders to sell off the guild wallet of gold. Which loses you 30+ customers when this is discovered a week down the road...as opposed to several personal trades which MIGHT cost you oen customer when one person gets burned.

Oh, whatever is that about?

Posted Jan 30, 2007 3:03:12 PM | link

Andrew Crystall says:

It's about you slamming the wrong target in your virtual war on human nature. The prohibitionary approach isn't working, it's costing you customers. This move by Ebay, in the longer run, will cost you more.

There is a world of difference (And no, I'm not really interested in the moral howl, but the real effects) between someone occasionally selling on Ebay, and the organised ripoff merchants of IGE and Yantis.

THAT is what it's about. Sorry to shatter the illusion that all devs have to be inherently anti-RMT and such.

Posted Jan 30, 2007 3:24:44 PM | link

Jeff Freeman says:

I think you have me confused with someone else.

Posted Jan 30, 2007 5:28:27 PM | link

Cael says:

Jeff "Dundee" Freeman is the Lindbergh baby. Film at 11.

Posted Jan 31, 2007 5:13:51 AM | link

Allen Sligar says:

Wow I thought I was delusional and crazy but you TN commenters take the cake :)

Yet again I'm going to have to agree with frank's analysis.

This is really an opprotunity to show the gamers (remember them?) that bringing RMT in house protects them and reduces thier exposure to fraud.

Positioned that way I think players will accept that solution rather than the alternative of throwing them to the seedy underbelly of the gaming industry that is IGE (I'm sure they busted out some champagne on this news)

Look RMT is going to happen, players know it and devs know it, so you might as well capture it as a revenue stream (there must be like 10 different models that could be used) and enforce a level playing field than avoid it.

Posted Jan 31, 2007 4:51:00 PM | link

says:

Does anyone here monitor playerauctions.com? I'm curious if most of the traffic will go there. There are 23,231 active auctions there right now. It'll be interesting to see if that number goes up over the next month or two.

Posted Feb 3, 2007 9:00:21 AM | link

says:

I think it is appropriate to refer back to this post.

There are tremendous costs associated with trying to avoid RMT. Not only is it becoming unfeasible to do this, but not very smart on the part of developers. Sorry gamers. More sorry developers. Quite astute Allen. Yet how undesirable is RMT? Once developers do decide to provide their own service, what effect does this have on negative externalities. In other words, does providing the service adequately separate RMT participants from non-participants. Even if it doesn't succeed in this, what are the true costs of RMT to the average player? I don't believe the costs to developers (blizzard in particular) are as high as first thought, especially in light of the fact that a good portion of those banned, return to the game, after having purchased a new activation key.

Posted Feb 4, 2007 11:25:58 PM | link

Lavant says:

Previous post by Lavant. Sorry for the anonymous post.

Posted Feb 4, 2007 11:29:34 PM | link

Dr. Cat says:

Just for the record, Furcadia players also own their own content.

Developers fighting RMT is, in a nutshell, saying "People who have tons of free time but want more money, people with plenty of money who value your time more, don't take advantage of your differing valuation of stuff to make a win-win exchange with each other, we don't want to facilitate or even allow that. Why? Because it breaks our grind-based game design's business model."

Until the big MMOs have moved beyond the grind-based business model, where you have to stretch out inadequate content (that cost you 30 million dollars to make) into 6 months or a year or more of subscription revenues, they will have an incentive to fight RMT (and ultimately fail to stop it anyway.)

For those games that have moved beyond it (or that didn't even start there), I think facilitating RMT is just a first step. Game services really need to look into setting up a decent escrow system, to facilitate cross-game trades, trading of game goods/money for services (custom artwork, etc.), and so forth.

Hearing about more struggling against RMT is so five minutes ago.

Posted Feb 5, 2007 9:56:48 AM | link