The WOW Exchange: Real Money in an Unreal World

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Market researcher creates web site to help World of Warcraft player's navigate their way around buying gold and other useful third party tools available to enhance their WOW experience.

Who in their right mind would exchange real money for virtual cash? Apparently, plenty of online gamers would.

A 2005 study by the NPD Group found that console gamers are more willing to pay for online game play and downloadable content than they were in 2004. NPD, which provides consumer and retail information to manufactures, reported in its study, “Online Game II: The Consumer Perspective,” that there was also an increase last year in online players for all platforms, including Mac, PC, PlayStation 2 and Xbox.

The trend to pay has taken hold, and millions of players around the planet will battle, buy and sell in online games and virtual worlds such as World of Warcraft. In fact, buying and selling gaming items is a booming business on the Web. In 2003, the Internet games section of Ebay took in more than $9 million in trades, according to a recent BBC report.

“It’s no different than paying for a bucket of balls at the golf course,” said Mark MacKay, owner of wow-gold-price-list.com. “For gamers, this is their hobby, their passion. They have really become caught up in games like World of Warcraft, but don’t always have the time to accumulate the necessary resources to advance through these virtual worlds. That’s why they’re paying for services to help them accomplish their goals.”

One of those services is purchasing gold for World of Warcraft, an online role-playing game that has more than 6 million players worldwide. MacKay’s site is a one-stop shop that can link World of Warcraft gamers to the top currency providers like Gamer King, Massive Online Gaming Sales and My Super Sales. The website takes the hard work out of searching endlessly for the best prices by providing a detailed list on its home page.

Another benefit that WOW players can purchase is power leveling. Power leveling helps players raise the skill level of a character in the fantasy game. There are various companies that offer these services, and http://www.wow-gold-price-list.com highlights and recommends the most reputable ones like Guy4Game. A representative from these companies will log on to your account and play the game for you, bringing a character up to a particular level over a certain time period.

But with such a popular game like World of Warcraft, there’s bound to be controversy. The issue of power leveling services is one of them. Some believe buying these services cheapens the game, while others claim it’s just part of the free market. In fact, the industry has spawned several providers who provide these “farming” services. Meanwhile, the game’s developer Blizzard Entertainment looks negatively on the situation and late last year suspended 18,000 accounts of players who broke the game’s terms of use. The majority of suspensions were for using computer-run characters made to farm gold and items for resale in the real world.

Said MacKay: “This game has its own geo-political, free-market controversy going on here and that will only ramp up the excitement and add to the challenge for fans of the game.”

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Mark Mackay
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