February 8, 2007
For anyone who has played them video games have allowed players to relax as they transported to another world, and their popularity has only increased as more and more games have become online ready.
For years now there has been a phenomenon that has been growing and has now exploded with the onslaught of online role playing games or rpg's like World of Warcraft.
The draw is that there's never really an end to the game" said game player Gene Toliver.
"It's always much more interesting to play someone else or with someone else, than to play against a computer or artificial intelligence" said Gary Cooper, a game developer.
Gamers like Gene Toliver are scoring real life bonuses for playing the video games that they love by selling what they have accrued from the game for actual money, and they're getting more than you would think.
"For instance with my character which i put quite a bit of time in to I sold mine online for $950" said Toliver.
Instead of just quitting a game after they're done playing gamers are selling their virtual characters or items for real world cash and the amounts are startling, but it's become common practice.
"I've purchased gold online before. I know several people that I work with have. It's fairly common" said Cooper.
So why are people paying?
"They don't have the time" said Toliver.
"A lot of it is down to how much time people have to spend in the game" said Cooper.
"Basically what people are buying is time that's all. In today's world you just don't have a lot of it and it's worth money and people are selling it" said game player Billy Lee.
The trade first became popular back in 1999 after the online fantasy rpg Everquest was released. Since then the world of Warcraft game has dwarfed every other online game boasting some 8 million users.
Players can sell or buy these virtual characters or items from a variety of websites and until recently even on eBay.
The online auction giant has now banned the practice concerned with legalities in ownership. But that hasn't stopped the market. Users can easily find sites to fulfill their virtual needs.
"It's just a matter of typing a keyword in google, you'll see hundreds of sites that are coming up that are doing it" said Toliver.
And as games like World of Warcraft become more and more popular, gamers can expect people to pay top dollar for their used virtual goods.
"It's kind of like America today we want everything instantly and people will pay a price to get that" said Lee.