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“Start-Up to Create Market for Trade of Virtual Goods” published 17 December 2007 in the Wall Street Journal reports Live Gamer, Inc. is developing a safer way to trade virtual goods. They will only allow trading of items with the “blessing” of game publishers and are currently working with Funcom GmbH (Sony’s online group), PingO Interactive, Ltd and others.

Current markets have been fraught with fraud. Gold farmers (those who collect virtual goods for resale, often from swarms of poorly paid employees playing the games in China) are a problem. In addition to real social issues, they create virtual social issues as they play the game because they focus entirely upon gaining wealth and minimally interact with other players.

Some purist believe players should earn their tools by playing the game, not by purchasing them.

Live Gamer will be announcing today that it has raised $24 million from Charles River Ventures, Kodiak Venture Partners, and Pequot Ventures to fund the launch.

Live Gamer says it has promised publishers it will prevent the sale of items by gold farmers, however the article is not specific on how that will be accomplished. They do say the seller of virtual goods will get 90 percent of the sale, and the remaining 10 percent will be split between Live Gamer and the publisher (details of that split not specified in the article).

Our thoughts – maybe we will see virtual game leagues in the future similar to Drug Free Power Lifting Organizations and non tested Power Lifting Associations a few years ago (Pure leagues and Buy Your Stuff Leagues). Wonder how long it will be till we have a parallel to the virtual drug test (way to tell if you earned your tools or bought them?).

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