A small concern regarding player-driven economies.

Firstly, I have to admit that my standard for keeping up with ‘video game news’ isn’t exactly the highest priority that I have when it comes to digesting information. Dota2 unveiled for the first time in a million dollar tournament? Final Fantasy Tactics for the iOS is finally out? (If it’s any consolation, I’ve been trying to find a rhythm with the esports scene surrounding Starcraft 2 and Counter-Strike.)

Diablo 3 is going to let rich players have the coolest toys possible?

Well, maybe I embellished the announcement of a player-driven economy and currency-based auction house a bit, there. You know what I was getting after, anyway.

While Blizzard can make assurances that players won’t be able to trade paid-for items to progress through the game with incredible speed, I’m not quite sure that’s the real cause for concern in this situation.

EvE-Online is a prime example of a player-run economy getting away from the developers to the point where it might cause CCP Games some legal repercussions if they renig on any of the current standards and practices they have in place simply because of the fact that they’re allowing real money to count as something transferable and tradable in a game.

Blizzard might be taking that a step further. While I haven’t heard of any subscription-based fees for the upcoming dungeon crawler, the ability to purchase and sell in-game gold directly from the currency-based market might cause a bit of a shift in how games in the genre are produced in the future. Will there be some way that Blizzard will be able to control what the conversion rate between gold and the US dollar is? Or the Euro? Or the Pound Sterling?

I’m sure the terms of the game will be complete enough to deal with the intricacies of starting an economy on the scale with what Blizzard is proposing here, but I have to wonder if there’s going to be any sort of data released on how the economy in the game goes after its released.

I mean, having a D3 gold forecast to look forward to would be pretty sweet, right?

Ultimately, does Blizzard get away with delegitimizing piracy of in-game gold and items? Yeah, maybe. Blizzard will bet getting a cut of the action in the currency auction house—perhaps there will be a black market that will attempt to deny Blizzard even the pennies that it could make from sales of in-game items.

Doesn’t that sound exciting?

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