Virtual Club Sold for $635,000
I have to admit, I have no idea why anyone would spend money on virtual goods. To me, I need my money to go to something tangible, like real swords or houses or food, as opposed to those things for a character in a game. So when I heard about a guy that paid $100,000 in real cold hard cash for a virtual asteroid, I was floored. It turns out it was a spectacular investment on his part though. Jon Jacobs, who I assume is some sort of Howard Hughes-esque eccentric millionaire, took his newly acquired piece of land and changed it into a Pleasure Island of sorts for the rest of the Entropia Universe (the MMO where all of this takes place) to enjoy.
Entropia is different from other MMOs in the fact that instead of putting in real money for fake goods to make fake money, one can actually make a real living off of goods bought by other users of the game. Jacobs was able to make almost $200,000 per year at his "Club Neverdie" by charging entry fees and building a virtual mall where people can shop and socialize, even go hunting.
Check out this advert for the club:
With Club NeverDie thriving, it was a surprise to many when Jacobs decided to sell it off in pieces. Though there were many buyers, the single largest purchase came from John Foma Kalun, who bought the main section of the asteroid for a whopping $335,000. (This beat the previous $300,000 record set by the sale of the Crystal Palace Station.) When all was said and done, Jacobs was able to sell the whole property for a staggering $635,000, a $535,000 profit not including the income he made over the course of his five years of ownership.
Now that I know that it is possible to make that sort of cash online, it makes me rethink my position on virtual goods and services.
Heart-Broken Man Sells Engagment Ring and Buys Master Chief Armor
Okay, this story is just awesome.
Heartbreak is sad and horrible, but sometimes awesome things can come from it. Take this story for example.
Eric Smith was your typical man in love. He was so in love in fact that he went out and bought his girlfriend the ring of her dreams. When he popped the question though, he got a response that he never could have imagined. Instead of saying yes, she told him that she couldn't marry him because she was in love with another guy. Not only that, but she had been having sex with him on the regular, in Eric's car, and the CD in the player that he had been listening to for the past month was a mix made by the guy she was banging. Harsh.
While most stories would end with poor Eric breaking down and spiraling into a deep depression only to find himself six months later with a Grizzly Adams beard and slight cocaine habit, this one has a happy twist. Eric, being the level-headed guy that most of us wish we could be, decided not to spend time dwelling on what a vicious s**t-demon he almost married. Instead he promptly sold the $2000 custom ring on eBay and spent the money on the only thing that could possibly make a true gamer happy, a full custom suit of Spartan armor from "Halo."
This gorgeous piece of equipment is 40 pounds of dark green fiberglass modeled after the main character of "Halo", Master Chief. It also comes fully equipped with the signature golden visor and light up LEDs.
Sure, he could have taken the money and used it to pay off student debts or put a down payment on a new car that didn't have the stink of infidelity, but I think that a full scale replica of video game armor will help him reach wherever he needs to go in life.
Woman Embezzled $166,000 from Job for Mafia Wars
In a case of life imitating art, Bettysue Higgins of Maine recently pled guilty to the charges of embezzling over $166,000 from her employers to help fund her addiction to the online Facebook games "Mafia Wars" and "YoVille." Over the course a year Higgins wrote herself 78 fake checks from her job to buy virtual coins in game. Of course she also wrote 142 other checks for, you know, walking around money.
I don't know what's worse. The fact that she spent over $5000 of stolen money on a free online game, or that she is 54 and looks like she could be your grandmother.
Man Spends $16,000 for Virtual Sword
Let's put things in perspective here. What can $16,000 buy you? Let's see. A car, a down payment on a house, one year of state college in Tennessee... so many useful and worthwhile things. Or it could buy you a single sword in a video game. Not only that, but a video game that is not released yet and there is no telling if it will even succeed. Yes, a man in China shelled out $16,000 for a sword in the upcoming MMO game "Age of Wulin."
In other news he is in talks to buy the Brooklyn Bridge.
Read more on Kotaku.
12 Year Old Racks Up over £900 on Farmville
For a free game, "Farmville" certainly knows how to get it's players to spend. In the case of an unnamed boy in England, the game, which is free to play, cost him and his mother almost $2000 American.
How can a game that is on Facebook for free cost that much? Well, Zynga, the publisher of the crack-like game, has made it so that you can play the game for free, but if you really want to play the game, you will have to buy the upgrades. These include more space to grow things, better animals, and just a better overall enjoyable experience. (Or so they would like you to believe.) So it's not surprising that a 12-year-old, who hasn't figured out that money is a real thing yet, would end up spending not only all of his savings, but then get into his mother's credit card and make over $1500 worth of charges.
The worst thing about it is not that Zynga and Facebook refuse to reverse the charges because they claim that it's not their fault that kids don't know the concept of money, but the fact that in order for the mom to get her money back, she would have to file a police report against her son. She says that she will not do so as she doesn't want a mistake he made as a child following him around for the rest of his life. To top it off, she claims that she is not even punishing him as he already knows what he did was wrong.
I call bullsh*t. If that was my kid I would totally file charges against him to get my money back. It would teach him a valuable life lesson. Steal sh*t and there be consequences.
British boy spends £1,000 on Xbox Live
In another incident of kids spending their parents money, an 11-year-old boy in England used his mother's credit card to purchase almost $2000 worth of Xbox Live material. It seems to me that the Brits really need to start teaching their children about money. Actually, I think that most of the world should probably do the same. (Let me get off my soap box now.)
Brendan Jordan, pictured above, was able to access his mother's credit card simply because it was registered on his Xbox Live account already as she used it to pay for his subscription to the service. How did he end up spending so much money? It seems the little rapscallion loves to dress up his avatar. Most of the money was spent on accessories for his character, along with downloadable games and DLC.
When his poor mother found out about all of the charges that had accrued over the course of six months, she instantly called up her credit company and tried to reverse that charges. They wouldn't let her, so she tried contacting Microsoft directly and has yet to hear back from them. She has decided not to punish Brendan as when he was made aware of how much money he had cost her, he broke down and told her to sell his Xbox to help pay her back. (Pretty good strategy, if you ask me.)
Her main concern is the fact that Microsoft makes it so easy for people to be charged for their services by having the card never come off the service information. It should be noted though, that all parents need to do is take a few more steps when signing up for the service and put a parental lock on the account so they can either turn off access completely or monitor downloads. (Just take the time, people.)
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