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Second Life MMO To Let Players Make Money In-Game 41

Thanks to Terra Nova for its post revealing that MMO 'virtual world' Second Life will allow virtual money made in-game to be converted to real cash, as part of a complicated new scheme which reduces subscription fees for many, but makes players pay for the amount of virtual land they rent. The post explains: "Anyone who pays [the monthly subscription] fee can now use the object-creation tools within the world to make content... charge Linden dollars for that content, and eventually turn some of those virtual dollars into real ones through a cash Developer Incentive program." The official announcement and discussion follow-up have more information on changes for this MMO, which recently announced it recognizes the IP of objects created in its virtual world.
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Second Life MMO To Let Players Make Money In-Game

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  • by BlackCobra43 ( 596714 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @01:33AM (#7687342)
    If some form of Communistic land-ownership "nations" actually develeopped... ..and worked?
  • by ObviousGuy ( 578567 ) <> on Thursday December 11, 2003 @01:36AM (#7687349) Homepage Journal
    Take your money out

    Put your money in and you shake it all about

    Go to the pokey for gambling online.

    That's what it's all about.
  • Anyone played this game? Sounds kinda freaky to me.. something a total social outcast would get into to replace life (yeah, yeah, spare me the "but this is slashdot jokes" :D ).

    I got into EQ for a while but this just seems like a simulation of real life.. a bit much for my tastes.
  • by GearType2 ( 614552 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @01:45AM (#7687393)
    but it is doomed to failure. I can see so many ways to exploit it is described, but I won't mention a word of it until I see it in action,I just hope it's more complicated than it seems. Anyways, this seems like a great idea if modified a bit to be more strict. It would be perfect for UO as a goldsink. Get 500? knock off a $1 off your monthly fee. Make it to where you can only have max of $10 knocked off(that is if they did really raise the monthly fee to 12.95 like they said they would). I still am a bit wary of actually *making* money off of a mmo. I only know one person who actually *lives* off of selling things in mmos, and well he is an EQ junkie, and to say the least I knew speed addicts that lived better.

    • The market EQ stuff is small, nay tiny, because it consists of those willing to pay beyond the monthly fee. In other words, other EQ junkies.

      In contrast, Linden Labs is passing Second Labs revenue on to content creators without any additional cost the average users. This dramatically increases the market for the creations. To the point of being incomparable with EQ.

      Not mention, as many times in previous stories, Second Lifers are real content creators, not just stat pushers.

    • I only know one person who actually *lives* off of selling things in mmos, and well he is an EQ junkie, and to say the least I knew speed addicts that lived better.

      You know Yantis []?
    • It's a great deal more complicated than described. The only easy way to turn your in-game money into real-world money is to use it to partially offset your subscription fee.
  • by xoboots ( 683791 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @01:55AM (#7687443) Journal
    >> it recognizes the IP of objects created in its virtual world.

    Funny. Considering how poorly and how contentious "IP" concerns are in the real-world, can anyone really expect a game company to do a better job? Doesn't this just sound like yet another reason for kids to get hold of credit cards, legally or not?

    Will be interesting to see how this evolves.
    • Try out Second Life and you'll find that there aren't many kids playing. The game focuses on object and property creation, group cooperation and even scripting using the built-in language.

      I'm not saying that kids are too dumb for this; I'm saying that the kids which Second Life would appeal too probably aren't the type to steal a credit card. This is just a guess though based on the fact that when I was a kid I would've loved to play this. And I wouldn't have stolen a credit card :-)

  • Silly (Score:4, Insightful)

    by EvlG ( 24576 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @02:04AM (#7687475)
    The idea of paying for virtual land is absurd. Real estate is based on the fact that there is a finite amount of land available. That fundamental fact is violated in a virtual world, when an additional server is only a CPU/hard drive/memory upgrade away.
    • Re:Silly (Score:4, Insightful)

      by sirsampson ( 48252 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @02:12AM (#7687511)
      Oh, but what is that cash you buy Real Estate with based upon? And paying for virtual space should be nothing new to folks here, How about web hosting. Paying for space to hold some of your data.

      The real question is weather this game is worth paying for in the first place.
    • Re:Silly (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ieshan ( 409693 ) <ieshan&gmail,com> on Thursday December 11, 2003 @02:26AM (#7687562) Homepage Journal
      Well, real estate value is also based on the fact that there is a finite amount of profitable land - and if, in the virtual arena, profitable land must be inhabited by other players, this principle isn't violated.

      In a sense, the land might be infinite, but the player presense to make it profitable might not be.
    • You're not making sense. A CPU/hard drive/memory upgrade isn't free. Maybe it costs less than clearing land for construction, but it's still a cost of running a server (and a rather large server/cost, considering we're talking about nodes of an MMO game). Might as well say, "The idea of paying rent is absurd, when you can just go build another house over there."
    • There *is* a finite amount of land available. Each server is responsible for one region 256m x 256m in size.

      To add more land, they have to add more servers. To add more servers costs real money.

      At least this business model makes more since, as it ties their income to their costs more directly and will allow the world to grow more quickly with demand.
    • Ahhh nono, see this aspect of it was badly explained to start with. It works more liks this:

      You play the game. You earn your Lindenbucks. You buy land. Your subscription rate is based on how much land you own. If you think of it more like varying website hosting plans (disk space/bandwidth/etc) then it makes more sense.

      Just to clear it up: Your subscription rate depends on how much land you own (how much of the server resources you use), you cannot yet buy land with real money.
  • MMOG.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by saden1 ( 581102 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @02:07AM (#7687484)
    Any MMOG where I can't play the role of a pimp is not worth playing. The pimping biz is where the money son.
    • Uh dude I was a pimp when we were still in Beta :P
      You can be anything you want in there. There's a bunch of strippers and even a prostitute =)

    • Any MMOG where I can't play the role of a pimp is not worth playing. The pimping biz is where the money son.
      You obviously haven't stopped by the Mature sims.
      • Although there isn't much nudity even in the mature sims. The main difference I've seen between the PG and mature sims is that construction in the mature areas tends to be of higher average quality -- although the M areas do have things like the Temple of POG.
  • A furture to come? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Datasage ( 214357 ) <`Datasage' `at' `'> on Thursday December 11, 2003 @02:49AM (#7687650) Homepage Journal
    I see 2L as a very interesting expirment with IP and the economics of a total digital world. All items are digital and have only its creation time and no manufacturing cost. Items could be duplicated instantly.

    Im not sure exactly what happens when you sell an item you create. Do you sell the item you create? Who keeps the copyright? Or do you sell a copy? Just licencing the item. What happens to the economic system if an item can be instantly duplicated?

    Some of that applies to the sale of music and movies in the real world.
    • by Lukey Boy ( 16717 )
      In the Item properties you can set if the person is buying the original or a copy, and you can set rights for either of those types of sales.

      For example, I can sell a wall clock that's an original piece and cannot be copied, or I can sell a chair that can be copied and modified.

      Unfortunately there's no way to impose the GPL on SecondLife objects yet :-)

      • Unfortunately there's no way to impose the GPL on SecondLife objects yet :-)

        Correction: There's no in-game code to enforce the GPL yet. You can make an object, add a notecard with the GPL on it, and make everything free to copy, and you've got a GPL'd object.
    • Here are some of the permissions for an object:

      [modifyable by the user who currently owns the object:]
      * Allow anyone to move object
      * Allow anyone to freely copy this object
      * Sell *this* copy of this item for n amount of currency
      * Sell a copy of this item for n amount of currency
      * Next owner can modify
      * Next owner can copy
      * Next owner can sell or give the item away

      [unmodifyable by the user who currently owns the object:]
      * Current Owner can modify this object
      * Current Owner can copy this object
      * Current Own
  • by Bookwyrm ( 3535 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @03:24AM (#7687745)
    An interesting problem with this is that the virtual world property now has real world cash-value. If Second Life 'pays' me in virtual money, which I can convert to real dollars, is this a form of employment? If I make a thousand dollars from selling things, will the IRS start hounding me? If some one steals a virtual object from me, can I have them arrested if I can show a monetary loss? As long as it is all play money, there were fewer issues -- but now that they are bringing in real money... well, lots of people and organizations interested in that, for better or worse.
    • Linden Labs employees have stated (in online chats) that they will file the proper US tax form and report the income of anyone they send real money to.

      The more interesting question to me is what happens to the casinos in Second Life. There are a few, somewhat popular, and a Bingo game which gets lots of traffic. If L$ can be changed into US$ that easily, won't the casino games eventually be shut down? It seems that way to me, and that's disappointing.
      • The difference between this and an online casino is that you can't directly convert USD -> Linden Dollars through any normal means.

        I don't know if this little fact will spare them the potential problems or not though...

    • Linden Labs won't convert your in-game money (L$) directly into US$. What the article is about is the "developer incentives", cash that's sent to people who make popular builds, or host popular events, or make other significant improvements to the online community -- things that usually take significant amounts of in-game money to achieve.

      If you want to convert your L$ directly to US$, you need to use eBay or the Gaming Open Market.
  • RTFA? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JExtine ( 691267 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @04:25AM (#7687943) Homepage
    If you inquire a lil deeper, you'll find that there is no way a user can MAKE money off of this, they are simply helping to pay for increased content (land) through the use of in game money.

    I think thats an awesome idea, and I hope more MMORPGs include something similar. It seems like a great way to reward players and remove built up currency...

    • Actually I think you CAN make money off of this, since in-world money can be converted to cash. I haven't informed myself of he details of this yet, since I have been pretty lazy about accumulating in-world money anyway.

      The more interesting part of the changes I think is the lowered entry barrier for casual users:

      "Starting a Second Life no longer means committing to a monthly charge - new Residents can get started with a one-time fee of just $9.95. With no recurring bills, it's a perfect
    • I seem to recall reading somewhere early on (though maybe it got lost in all the controversey) that the top 25 users will also split $1000 USD, and that similiar monthly rewards will be sent to the most creative residents.

  • They really are 2nd (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Been there, done that, got my 100 bucks out from this online casino with nice 3D UI. Some call it also MMORPG Project entropia []

    Tough I Was one of the lucky ones. In the end, it's the house that always wins
  • this looks like a way to knock down the cost of the subscription.

    1) pay $x fee
    2) you make content
    3) you sell stuff
    4) you get real $y
    5) you $(x-y) fee (minimum is there)
    6) goto 1

    definatly something i've been looking into, i'll grab it when i get a CC and some time after the first of the year :)
  • Won't Fly (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kengineer ( 246142 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @05:28PM (#7693749)
    This game won't fly.

    You build the game first, and then the player economy grows on top of it. You can't build the economy first. You need to start with a fun game, that people enjoy playing. Once you have that, then they will start thinking about "making money on the side". Additionally, you need a large player base to support the market of virtual goods. Building neat stuff is all well and good, but you need people who want to purchase it. Megadeth said it best, "Peace Sells (but who's buying?)"

    Building the mechanism into the game is novel, but encouraging producers and trade is only part of the equation. Consumers play just as an important role!

    Anyway, I didn't bother to RTFA, but it looks like this is a gimmic. Trade and sale of virtual goods is verboten in most MMORPG's, but unenforced. You can go to Ebay and sell 100 Million Earth and Beyond Credits or 20 Million Platinum Pieces on any Everquest server, and get real US currency in return. Like, the kind you can spend on things. Not some "subscription discount". Screw that. I want cash for my hard in-game toils!
  • ok,ok.
    so you have to PAY these dudes so that you can WORK?....

    where does the word GAME kick in?...


"I don't believe in sweeping social change being manifested by one person, unless he has an atomic weapon." -- Howard Chaykin