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Oct 25, 2005

Comments

1.

The buyer is named Jon Jacobs. This sounds like a fake name. (There is even a children's song with this name in it.)

Is it possible that this is a publicity ploy for Project Entropia? Is there any way of verifying the legitimacy of this transaction?

2.

I like how the Project Entropia website simplifies the concept of intellectual property. Perhaps some real life entities could learn a lesson or two from this straightforwardness:

"...people have paid for virtual items, or experiences, for decades, when one thinks about it. When you go to a store and buy a CD, what are you paying for, really? Is it the shiny plastic disc you have bought, or is the content in form of music? You have bought the experience of listening to something you deem valuable."

****

Quick, fun legal question here:

What if, one day after the $100,000 purchase, Project Entropia goes permanently offline and closes up shop? (ignore bankruptcy implications) Does Jon Jacobs have any recourse, or is he out 100 large?

In short, although there's obviously actual "value" in virtual property, is the property at all protected by the law like real property?

3.

1. Entropia has a record of pulling stunts.

2. All the time people ask me 'is the money real'? And I say 'yes it is - look at eBay.' The content of my answer is that 1,000 gold pieces really is $100, in the sense that you could actually liquidate that amount of gold and turn it in real dollars. However, there are currently no auctions on eBay responding to the query 'project entropia'. OTOH, PE works differently - the company claims to stand ready to liquidate PE dollars for real dollars at a 1:10 rate. But I really doubt that Mindark could withstand a run of any magnitude. I doubt they could have given this guy $1000 for his million PE dollars.

So, this is a shame - the activity that gets major publicity is very probably a sham, and not too hard to discover as such (although after the last sale, not a single journalist tried to dig up the truth on Mindark's solvency in the face of these PE dollar claims, they just called me.) (I wonder - accountants! Would they not have to list every outstanding PE dollar as a liability on their balance sheets???)

I doubt anyone will do the heavy lifting to uncover this one. So, welcome to another round of shoddy gee-whiz stories that completely miss what's really happening out here.

WTG Mindark!!!!

4.

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Contact me at [email protected] if you are interested.

Dennis Francesco


5.

Has anyone confirmed if anyone has converted PED for real world currency through Mindark?

Totally agree with Castronova on this; there's quite enough real news going on in the RMT/virtual world space without this sort of credulous retelling of shady PR.

6.

Dennis, please smoke and die. Stupid robots.

7.

Okay, so it may well be a scam. Even if it's not, the exchange rate issue is a real one: 1M PED isn't the same as $100,000 USD unless you really can go out and exchange them (in that sense, RMT of other games' currency provides a sort of reverse gold standard -- their gold to actual USD :) ).

But what caught my eye was the rights conferred with this property. Apartments and shop spaces -- no doubt worth real money to sell to players -- plus advertising rights using their "upcoming" billboard system. That's interesting and potentially profitable with real-world tie-ins.

But then there's this conferred right:

Spawning point for newcomers to Project Entropia through a tagged PE client. This will enable the owner to market his Space station Resort outside Project Entropia so that the newcomers will arrive directly at the resort instead of in Port Atlantis.
This takes viral marketing of the PE game to a whole new level. Supposing this is real (and if it's not today it will be next time), some guy buys the mall as a virtual-land speculator, and then has a huge economic incentive to attract new players to the game through his "portal" into the game (remember "web portals"?). His interests and the interests of MindArk are aligned in a new and compelling way: he now has a vested interest in seeing overall sales/subscriptions go up, but especially if people buy his branded version of the game.

Now suppose this speculator could subdivide his apartment and mall space, selling off these rights to others piecemeal (I don't know if PE supports this). You could very quickly build a sales force for the overall game that is selling a particular branded entry into the experience. Multiply this by n space resorts and garden planets, etc., and you have many people now working for themselves but in line with MindArk's revenue goals. In a very real sense, you'd have joined the (often annoying but strong) viral power of MLMs with MMOs.

8.

Come to think of it. I'm not sure I've ever met anyone with an Entropia account. Is there anyone out there?

9.

Interesting Mike. The stuff you're talking about gets close to the eyeball-attractor models in the porn business (I am told).

10.

Not to completely validate the story, but BBC claims:

Neverdie is a popular and well-known in-game character. He and another character, Island Girl, appeared in a 2003 dance music movie Hey DJ!, which starred Jon Jacobs, Charlotte Lewis, and Tina Leiu.

Furthermore, I don't see any skeptics on the PE forum.

11.

Edward Castronova wrote
"the company claims to stand ready to liquidate PE dollars for real dollars at a 1:10 rate. But I really doubt that Mindark could withstand a run of any magnitude. I doubt they could have given this guy $1000 for his million PE dollars. "


I think they can and frequently do exchange PE for real $$$.

The Business model is different than the traditional game. If you don't invest in the the game (pay $$$ to get PE) you really don't have a chance to get anywhere or do much in the game. They closely monitor whats given out in loot and every time you pull the trigger on your gun its costing you PED or $$$ as you need ammo for your guns.

12.

I think we'll see more of this: the sale of in-game real estate in parallel with a real-life management and service contract.

An example would be for Liden to sell a mega-island to a single mega-buyer for seven figures. Linden will "support" the island like any other island sales and the mega-buyer will use the island space to do whatever.

I think a few rich and adventurous would be willing to pay $1m for their own personal virtual world space.

This also the beginning of the legitimate virtual real estate developer.

Frank

13.

As a player of Project Entropia (15 months now), I'm familiar with the likes of Jon "Neverdie" Jacobs (btw... of course it's not a real name... it's the name of his avatar). In real life he is a DJ and actor, and he has always voiced interest in bringing clubbing and music to PE in a greater way than it's been to date. As far as I can recall from internet research, he is American, and Deathifier (from last year's purchase of Treasure Island in Entropia) is from Australia.

The real world currencies of America, the UK and Australia, allows greater buying power in Entropia, than would allow for Swedish or South African (moi) players.

I myself, am hoping to be advertising on the Billboard system... if I can find a way to own my own set of Billboards... I will definitely jump at the chance :)

14.

totally amazing and yet crazy story. incredible.

15.

A lot of people within the PE universe have successfully made money, and have withdrawed money from MindArk, at the fixed exchange rate at 10 PED -> 1 USD. One guy from Eastern Europe withdrawed over $15,000, money he earned by buy and selling within the universe. Apparently, that was more than his father makes in a year at the plant...

Those wanting more info about Jon Jacobs can make a search on IMDB, he is listed there. He is a veteran PE player who understands the concept and have a vision for the future. He is a pioneer in the new frontier, so to speak.

According to Mindark some eight parties had interest in the Space Resort. I know that David Storey, the Australian guy who bought Treasure Island, was just minutes away buying the resort himself. Storey, btw, is close to meet break-even, meaning he pulls in about 25 grand per year, on estate sales and taxes. If PE was to go off and become one of the largest online games, I guess his income would multiply several times, meaning he has essentially created a nicely paid full-time job playing PE. Quite a feat in it self.

I'd rather spend 8/h per day playing a game than 8/h per day at the office, behind a keyboard and a screen, especially if I make such amounts of money.

Mindark as a company is making a profit since fall last year, according the the Swedish tax authority (from a Swedish player who requested their balance sheets). I think they make enough money to continue develop this system and be in the front of the next level of virtual meets real.

Above that, Mindark is currently also gathering funds from issuing stocks, which is to be used to market PE - something the company hasn't done yet, really. PE's success so far is by word of mouth and clever PR.

They list the number of registered account on their main page - this number has jumped about 700% the last few days alone.

They seem to survive anything, they have a cool and exotic idea, and it appears to work. I hope that Storey and Jacobs can sell their properties in five to ten years for a couple of million bucks each.

//Ram

16.

I've tried to play Project Entropia, and it doesn't seem to be very interesting when you start... the newbie tutorials were broken, the world was empty, and from what I could gather from other people, you basically level grind your way through newbiedom (or pay vasts amounts of money for decaying equipment to skip it).

I'll stick with Second Life. At least you can make money without investing a dime. :)

LF

17.

more news from the BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4385048.stm

18.

Perhaps Project Entropia is the world-champion in terms of one whole property or real-estate parcel taken as a whole, but in terms of *square meters* I wonder if Second Life would still present significant competition?

Last night a mere square of 512 m2 in Boardman, a Linden-zoned suburban-themed sim that has become a kind of architects' and designers' enclave, sold to resident avatar Maxx Monde for more than $100,000 Linden dollars, i.e. about $394 US on the Linden land auction. That's one heck of a set of extra prims! Maxx beat his previous record of $262 US for a 1008 m2 when I tapped out on the auctions.

19.

Wow, I'm surprised you all fell for this one. It looks like a complete and utter marketing stunt. Jon Jacobs is very very closely tied to the company; US Spokesperson and marketing guy close. Check my blog for a bit more info on this case.

20.

Calistats; You should get your story straight and dig further before jumping to false conclusions. The Entropia system was online when the auction took place (I was in it browsing when I noticed that the space resort deed suddenly was purchased), so the claim that the system is offline is bogus.

Also, Mindark has stated several times that they use players as spokespersons for Entropia around the world. I guess it has to do with the fact that they are small and don't have the money to have company reps all around the globe. Jon Jacobs, with other prominent PE players was attending E3 for instance, speaking about Entropia. Nontheless, they are players and are not employed by MindArk.

MindArk operates differently compared to other companies, as they have close ties to the community and sees it as a real part in the creation of Entropia. Therefore collaboration with key players is a smart thing to do, it strenghtens the community sense and it saves the company money.

This is how I see it, anyway, being a lurking member of the Entropian community for a couple of years.

Mr. Blackmoore

21.

CNN picked up on -- I almost said blogged! -- the PE sale today: Virtual Property yields $100,000.

The notice on CNN's front page is significant of course: how many trial users will that drive to PE? What would such advertising cost otherwise?

From the article:

Jacobs, 39, plans to hire famous disc jockeys to entertain visitors once a week or so at the resort but still reckons on netting $20,000 a month from the hunting tax and other income.

If that's even close to accurate, thoughts about subscription-based revenue models may change considerably (to say the least).

A year ago, as I've noted elsewhere, we were living in a pre-WoW world. Now most expectations have changed as a result of that game. Is it possible that we're currently living in a pre-RMT world? That the RMT that we've seen is analogous to the small dribs and drabs of players in games pre-WoW? What happens if this $100K turns out to be a solid investment -- how will that change things?

22.

I have taught many people how to do this and we are now turning a profit. Beats the hell out of working in the rice fields for $50 a month (500PED) or giving Crazy American Vets Tours

23.

Hi guys, interesting stuff here... just to let you know. I'm real alright, this is a business investment... Im a hard core game since Wizardry in the early 80's... I have made plenty of cash in PE through the aquisition of rare items and the increase in market value. i also have been making a steady income from owning taxable Real estate in PE...

The Space resort allows me to bring my connections in the music business together with my experience as pioneer of Virtual Reality and make a real go of it...

I genuinely think the resort will gross six or seven figures in 2006...

I am the most thrilled and excited gamer in the world right now. And i'm not Rich, I'm using Game profits combined with cash taken from the equity in my house. I have a lot at stake here.
And i'm gonna do my utmost make it work...

for those of you who have a genuine interest in
the colonization of virtual Reality and the future of full time Gamers . keep an eye on Club NEVERDIE

-

24.

just a little question (im young so if this seems stupid i apologise) if this new virtual world is becoming a life for some people in the way that they use it as an income, and entertainment etc. does this not mean that people (if they wanted) could become terrorists and destroy houses, businesses etc. are we not just looking at an extended version of our own society?

25.

Project Entropia is more or less a pyramide game.
It can only keep its wheel turning if new people join the game and start buying ammo and using the repair terminal. There is lot of people who lostthousand of dollars playing it. Endless addicted players hoping for a new HOF (Hall of Fame)loot carring big cash. That never comes.
The game is not about skill or building your avatar up it is 100% luck - Higher chance you win in Poker with 10000 players than Project Entropia.

So how do you drag new ppl into the game?
you let your Us spokeman: Jon Jacobs to buy a space station and make a press release to drag new people and creditcards into the game. Jon’s main title within the company is US Spokesperson. His functions include US strategic relations as well as, business development, marketing and content acquisition.

The auction was suppose to go on to december 2005.
howcome the public or the gaming world didn t hear anything about this: Oh so great investment while it was going on? Like: Virtuel Space Station bid is on 20000 $. Hell no. The station was sold in 3 days. What a great commercial trick.

GOOD JOB Project Entropia on dragging creditcards into your rotten game.

26.

Hello,

My name is Marco Behrmann and I work as Director of Community Relations for MindArk PE AB. As there appear to be misconceptions floating around I wish to make a statement to counter the rumors.

Jon Jacobs does not work for MindArk PE AB and he has not previously been employed by our company.

However at occasions when our company is asked by media or other organisations to "explain" the wonders of Project Entropia we may ask any of the prominent members within the Project Entropia society, if they are interested in representing our Virtual Universe at a given occasion.

Often requests to represent Project Entropia comes from the "players" themselves because they have local knowledge of events and such happenings in their respective countries.

This means that Project Entropia up to this date has "players" or potential "Ambassadors" in 179 real world countries.

(If the "prominent member" incurs any costs such as for example travel costs while "representing" our Virtual Universe, we will of course look positively upon any request to reimburse them for these costs.)

Regarding payment: The payment was made by Jon Jacobs in full by funds originating from outside Project Entropia. (Jon Jacobs has continuously from the year 2002 been depositing funds to his character "Neverdie".)

Regards
-Marco

27.

I saw no indication within the article about what the game features- what is it? Mining space sim? Farming? Are there overall objectives? A storyline? What is fun about grinding to sell to other players? Why not just play Sims online? I see only a link about the number of downloads on Entropia's site- what are the actual number of users in game? Number of servers? I cant find legal obligations on the entropia site- does this mean the invididual participants are investors with the company, or does the company act as a bank? it is exceedingly murky.

I see only two ways to attact new players to a game- a) make it fun or b) lure them with cash. The market for computer games is ridiculously cutthroat and fickle- if Wish couldn't survive with all the beta tester support it had for how good the skill system and game was, how can a game based solely on grinding for money live? It is easier to farm stuff in WoW and sell for gold on EBAY than this, I'd wager.

28.

I am a active member of the Entropia Universe. I Enjoy every aspect of it. I run a Society in world. And have Been a Active happy Citizen for Years. I dont Belive it is Gambling in any way. Loots are for the most part based on skills u earn as u progress. If u would like to Give this virtual World a try i would be Happy to Mentor u and show u how profitable this world can be.

Entropia Universe is a pioneer in Many fields. And u have to give the Company Props for Even Takeing on Such a Grand task as this.

Sun Oroz Smith (Unlimited)

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