Global market for trading virtual goods reaches £1.8bn a year…
more than the GDP of some countries
- 100,000 workers in China and Vietnam are building up stockpiles of online supplies to sell to Western gamers
- Arrangement could provide ‘aid’ to poorer countries in a way that humanitarian organisations have been unable to do
Computer gamers are paying £1.8billion per year of real money on virtual items to give them a boost over their gaming rivals.
A report has revealed that the market for virtual gold, weapons and gadgets is now so large it has surpassed the GDP of some small nations.
An army of 100,000 workers in China and Vietnam are working around the clock to build up stockpiles of online supplies to then sell to wealthy Western gamers.
Big business: Computer gamers are paying £1.8billion per year of real money on virtual items in games including World of Warcraft (pictured)
They would rather pay up to £5,000 of their real money for the virtual goods than put in the time and hunt down the supplies themselves.
The arrangement has been especially popular on role playing games such as World of Warcraft and Lineage in which gamers have traditionally spent days or 소액결제 현금화 weeks building up their characters and equipping them with the best gear so that they have an edge over other players.
About a quarter of all players on such popular multi-player online games now spend real money to shortcut the process, the report from the World Bank said.
It found that the market for supplying such goods was mature and that the largest of eight Chinese suppliers of virtual gold have an annual turnover of £6.1million each.
An additional 50 to 60 firms are raking in around £600,000 every year.
The total for virtual sales around the globe is £1.8billion – by comparison the GDP for Aruba is £1.3billion while that of Greenland is £1.2billion.
The World Bank said that the arrangement could provide ‘aid’ to poorer countries in a way that humanitarian organisations have been unable to do.
Its report noted that a high proportion from the sales reaches those in the country where the work was actually undertaken, meaning it could help boost local economies.
This compares favourably with the coffee industry which is worth £42billion per year, but just £3.3billion of that goes to the nations that farm the coffee beans.
The largest amount ever paid out for a virtual item was £399,000, which an unnamed buyer paid for a virtual nightclub.
British entrepreneur Jon Jacobs entered the record books when he sold ‘Club Neverdie’, one of the most sought-after properties in the virtual game Entropia Universe, for the enormous sum.
The club was equipped with a stadium, a shopping centre and bio-domes and earned him £124,000 per year from people buying its goods and services.
Jacobs, 44, had bought the asteroid in 2005 for just £62,000 after taking out a mortgage on his real-life house.
Entropia, in which players colonise a 3D world, allowed him to make money from the sale because it uses what is known as a micropayment business model similar to chips at a casino.