I already considered it very strange when I once read that there are people earning real money with World of Warcraft by selling virtual goods from this world on eBay. Entropia Universe is even more extreme: The whole business model of this MMOFPS (Massive Multiplayer Online First Person Shooter) expects you to buy virtual goods in the virtual world of Entropia for real money.
The currency in Entropia Universe is called PED and is linked to the US Dollar (10 PED = 1 USD). You can buy PEDs für this exchange rate and you can also have your PEDs paid out in USD. Allegedly the game is designed to make it unattractive unless you buy stuff. In 2006, Entropia Universe (then still called Project Entropia) allegedly had an internal turnover of 3,6 billion PED or 360 million USD.
The company behind the world, MindArk, does not charge money for the game itself nor are there monthly fees or anything similar. Instead they keep a non-disclosed amount of the money which is used inside Entropia Universe. The business model assumes that a player uses 0,5 to 1,5 USD during an average hour of game play.
This money emphasized model seems to attracts numerous players which are less interested in playing than in earning money. One of the most famous among them is Jon Jacobs. He bought a virtual night club on an asteroid for 100’000 real dollars (!). Running the club is now his main occupation. Supposedly, he already earned over half a million USD with his club. His monthly income is suspected to be 12’000 USD.
Less surprisingly, Entropia Universe already has its very own gang of online fraudsters.
As mentioned, I consider this concept kinda weird. But I don’t think I really like it. This way, you get all the problems of capitalism in a virtual world which is supposed to be for fun – isn’t it? If it is not, I do not quite get the point of setting up another world. 🙂 I think I would be pretty annoyed to get mowed down by other player just because they can afford the expensive weaponry. Although I have to say, to be fair, that I did not really test Entropia Universe myself. Maybe I imagine this concept to be more tricky than it really is.