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If we told you that a digital kitten was actually sold in 2018 for $170,000 would you believe us? Amazingly this actually happened and is an example of something called the "Virtual Economy".
This lesser-known way to make money has seen gamers trade in-game items for real cash for many years now. And, as you will soon find out, it can be pretty lucrative for anyone savvy enough to take advantage of it.
Here we will take a shallow dive into this unseen and mostly unknown world and explore some ways you could get in on the act.
What is the virtual economy?
The virtual economy is -- a complete economic system that only exists within a virtual environment, like computer games. The term is usually used to denote internet-based games, like MMOs, and it first emerged as a means of exchange for things of value within the confines of the same game.
Since its early days, multiple virtual economies have since risen producing virtual monies, goods, properties, and services.
Participants within this emergent economy tend to use it for recreational and entertainment purposes, rather than financial necessity. While the virtual economy is primarily concerned with in-game currencies and goods, it has since expanded to the sale or trading of "real" world fiat currency, goods, properties, and services.
Can you actually make living playing video games?
You most certainly can. Beyond virtual animals exchanging hands for "silly" money, some people have made serious money for other virtual assets too.
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For example, between December of 2017 and January of 2018, over 34,000 parcels of land were sold in a single real estate auction in a single city. What was odd about these transactions is that none of the real estate actually existed in the real sense.
It was all completely virtual.
These lots were all being sold for a digital city currently in development that was only accessible through a browser. Powered by a sophisticated marketplace, and the wonders of cryptocurrency, the auctions made tens of millions of dollars.
But these are not isolated stories. Another gamer made a cool $635,000 for selling a digital nightclub in the game Entropia.
But there is a darker side to it too. There are some places in the world, like China, where gamers can spend hours on end farming for in-game stuff for a pittance.
How does the virtual economy work?
MMORPG, like World of Warcraft, each has their own virtual currencies like Old School Runescape gold, Black Desert Online Silver, and TemTem Pansun, to name but a few. This is one of their fundamental gaming mechanics and underpins their robust virtual economic systems. Players need to defeat enemies for loot, hunt and gather, or buy and sell to get the gear and other stuff they want for their characters.
But with hundreds of thousands, millions, or even billions, of other players doing the same, hyperinflation can become a serious problem. In no time at all, all that hard-earned stuff can become completely worthless as the supply in game-currency explodes over time.
To combat this, many MMOs carry out something called "currency sinks". These are game mechanics where large amounts of money are periodically removed from the game.
Some games will apply certain auction house fees, gear repair fees, and other initiatives to attempt to control the supply of virtual goodies on their platforms.
But this ignores the main cost of getting all that stuff in the first place -- the player's time. Commonly called "grinding", it can typically cost a player somewhere in the region of tens of hours to get the stuff needed to level up your player or buy that awesome piece of kit they need to progress in the game.
While you could recruit the services of a freelance gamer to do the heavy lifting, another method is to use something called a Virtual Marketplace. These are specialized platforms that provide a means of buying, or selling, in-game stuff for hard cash.
These kinds of platforms come in a variety of flavors:
- Vertical - This is a kind of virtual market that allows users to sell a single kind of product.
- Horizontal - These kinds of markets allow people to sell products of different types but all tend to share characteristics.
- Global - Global virtual marketplaces allow users to make deals with any kind of virtual product they like.
There are myriad examples on the net to fit most budgets and desires, but some can be quite costly. That is where platforms like Eldorado.gg, are great for all players as they tend to offer many items, often on sale.
What is Eldorado.gg?
Eldorado.egg is an easy-to-use virtual marketplace that offers virtual goodies for sale or purchase. The company started around 10 years ago, and have since bought and sold billions in in-game gold and millions of items form various games.
Their mission is "to be your trusted shop when you buy any in-game items, gold, accounts, or boosting service."
All you need to do is sign up for the service, search for the game in question and then browse, at your leisure, all the current items available.
Once you've settled on something you want, Eldorado.gg will automatically filter the best offers based on the categories (like price, feedback of the seller, etc) you've selected. By doing this, the platform always shows you the best price but you can further refine the search results to your liking.
After you've made your order, you can talk to the seller directly to arrange delivery. This will usually involve the seller talking you through the virtual exchange in-game.
If you have any issues at all, Eldorado's support team is always available to help you resolve disputes too. This is supported by the platform's "TradeShield" feature that holds all transacted funds until delivery has been confirmed.
This not only protects the buyer but is a great initiative for potential sellers too.
While other platforms tend to charge upwards of 10% of the total of any transaction, for example, one of their main competitors, Overgear, charges an eye-watering 12% for currency including an additional charge of 3.5% plus 0.3 Dollars or 0.5 Euros for withdrawals.
Eldorado, on the other hand, only takes around 5% for sales for currencies and items. and 10% for accounts and boosting services (plus a withdrawal fee of 4% plus $1). This enables them to remain one of the cheapest virtual markets around.
Eldorado, being gamers themselves, understands that any delay beyond what is absolutely necessary is unacceptable to their clients.
So, if you are on the market for some in-game loot and don't have the free time to grind, why not check out Eldorado.gg today?