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Thread: The Unreal Estate Boom

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2002

    The Unreal Estate Boom

    Not long ago, a 43-year-old Wonder Bread deliveryman named John Dugger logged on to eBay and, as people sometimes do these days, bought himself a house. Not a shabby one, either. Nine rooms, three stories, rooftop patio, walls of solid stonework - it wasn't quite a castle, but it put to shame the modest redbrick ranch house Dugger came home to every weeknight after a long day stocking the supermarket shelves of Stillwater, Oklahoma. Excellent location, too; nestled at the foot of a quiet coastal hillside, the house was just a hike away from a quaint seaside village and a quick commute from two bustling cosmopolitan cities. It was perfect, in short, except for one detail: The house was imaginary.

    Equally unreal were the grounds the house stood on, the ocean it overlooked, the neighboring cities, and just about everything else associated with it - except Dugger himself, the man he bought it from, and the money he shelled out. At $750, Dugger's winning bid on the property set him back more than a week's wages and was, on the face of it, an astonishing amount for what he actually bought: one very small piece of Britannia, the fantasy world in which the networked role-playing game Ultima Online unfolds.

    Yet there was nothing particularly unusual about the transaction. On any day you choose, dozens of Britannian houses can be found for sale online at comparable prices. And houses are just the start of it. Swords, suits of armor; iron ingots, lumber, piles of hay; tables, chairs, potted plants, magic scrolls; or any other little cartoon item the little cartoon characters of Britannia might desire can be had at auction, priced from $5 for a pair of sandals to $150 for an exceptionally badass battle-ax to $1,200 for a well-located fortress. A simple, back-of-the-envelope calculation puts the estimated sum of these transactions at $3 million per year.

    Which in turn is just a fraction of the total wealth created annually by the residents of Britannia. For every item or character sold on eBay and other Web sites, many more are traded within the game itself - some bartered, most bought with Britannian gold pieces (a currency readily convertible into US legal tender at about 40,000 to the dollar, a rate that puts it on par with the Romanian lei). The goods exchanged number in the millions, nearly every one of them brought into existence by the sweat of some player's virtual brow. Magic weapons won in arduous quests, furniture built with tediously acquired carpentry skills, characters made powerful through years of obsessive play - taken as a whole, they are the GNP of Britannia.

    Literally. Last year - in an academic paper analyzing the circulation of goods in Sony Online's 430,000-player EverQuest - an economist calculated a full set of macro- and microeconomic statistics for the game's fantasy world, Norrath. Taking the prices fetched in the $5 million EverQuest auctions market as a reflection of in-game property values, professor Edward Castronova of Cal State Fullerton multiplied those dollar amounts by the rate at which players pile up imaginary inventory and came up with an average hourly income of $3.42. He calculated Norrath's GNP at $135 million - or about the same, per capita, as Bulgaria's .
    Entire piece on Wired.com

    My question...have you ever, (or known anyone who ever), paid money for something that did not exist?

    I personally haven't nor know anyone who has
    \"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.\" -- Dom Helder Camara

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Ebay is in news guys. Today i read in the newspaper that there was a mirror kind of site called ebay---something--.com, which sent emails to mostly all Ebay members requesting them to re-fill their billing information as they were reportedly having problems with their website. Some people went and filled in their credit card and stuff. Now, the website has been closed , of course, but sad story.
    Oh , and i wanted to share this, not wanting to open a new thread, but just telling ya this :
    i had my c++ exam in school today, and there was a question : "what is mosaic ?"

    only i was the one in the class who knew the answer, lol
    they had all prepared strictly c++, it was funny when everybody made a fuss of it being out of syllabus lol, mahakaal, dont mind me saying this here, huh
    \"I have a 386 Pentium.\"

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    No Mahakaal i don't either, everyone im aquaiinted with knows what to do with their money.

    Somehow i don't imagine these 'collectables' will ever make it to the antique road show. i could be wrong though
    Bukhari:V3B48N826 “The Prophet said, ‘Isn’t the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?’ The women said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘This is because of the deficiency of a woman’s mind.’”

  4. #4

    Re: The Unreal Estate Boom

    Originally posted here by Mahakaal

    My question...have you ever, (or known anyone who ever), paid money for something that did not exist?

    I sure have. Australian Health Care.

  5. #5
    Senior Member gore's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    hahahahahahha, confirmed kill just got a good laugh outta me, lol.
    that was good.
    and paying for things that dont exist... well, not really, but since i work my bum off and they take city taxes from my check, i figure i should be able to do about 40 over the speed limit at least once a month...damn cops sure love showing you how wrong you are with that flashlight lol, he beat the batteries outta my friend!
    And as for the original story, ummm, id be mad if i saw a house and bought it and wake up the next day with 700 or more dollars missing and a nurse telling me someone put a sheet of acid in my burger or somethin lol.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Awesome !!!!
    I know that i should have played everquest... damn too bad
    Anybody interrested in a Broodwar account with some 1525/325/129 stats ? i sell it very cheap $50 ?
    Oh come on i know starcraft hasn't been played in years but it's still rocks !!!

    What about the depreciation of the game, what would happen if people taught the game was outdated and that the price they paid for an armor was too much compared to what he could get for it a week later ? are we going for a e-quote of gaming goods with stock price and bonds too ?

    assembly.... digital dna ?

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