New Ways to Make Money from Online Games Coming in Third Edition of Controversial Guidebook Gaming Pays

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Author Aaron Crow explains the secrets to making a viable business from selling accounts and items from online role-playing games. New markets and methods are expanding for creative entrepreneurs.

Billions of real dollars are changing hands in the market for online game accounts and items. The controversial guidebook “Gaming Pays!” by Aaron Crow reveals how people are profiting in this market, and, with business trends emerging continuously, the fully updated “Gaming Pays!” will be released in its third edition in September.

Millions of people play online games, known as massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), and an entire market has developed among online gamers as they buy and sell virtual goods and even entire character accounts that are coveted within the game worlds.

As a leading voice in this industry, Crow wrote “Gaming Pays!” available at http://www.gamingpays.com after becoming successful in the online game market. He also saw that the information was not available to outsiders because other sellers guarded the operational secrets of their businesses. “Gaming Pays!” explains the methods being employed to turn virtual goods or unreal estate as it is now called into real money and in some cases a substantial income. High level accounts regularly trade for hundreds of dollars and sometimes prices even go over one thousand dollars.

In addition to producing his best selling guidebook “Gaming Pays!” Crow has created the Looter’s Lounge, an online community forum at http://www.looterslounge.com that caters specifically to unreal estate entrepreneurs. With hundreds of members and growing, this forum is unique because it is not limited to discussing the market for a single game. Instead it is a trade association type gathering of business people who can share research, ideas, and tips for marketing their goods.

Since the first publication of “Gaming Pays!” in March 2004, Crow has observed how this market has only expanded despite its controversial aspects. For players, the ability to buy and sell game items and entire accounts seemed logical and practical, but the large media companies that produced the games were alarmed by the market for items that they said were their property. Sony Online Entertainment Inc., the creator of the groundbreaking EverQuest game, and then EverQuest II and Star Wars Galaxies, was particularly aggressive in its attempts to prevent the selling of its game accounts, going so far as to ask eBay to remove listings related to items from its game worlds.

Even with game companies possessing the right to suspend gamer accounts for selling virtual goods, the market still continued to grow as avid players sought valuable game items or powerfully developed character accounts and were willing to pay money for them. As a participant in the online game market, Crow sees the players in the multi-billion dollar computer gaming industry as the independent underdogs who are claiming business success even without the sanction of the game companies.

Crow released his guidebook about how to make a viable business from the trade in virtual game goods just as the controversy was heating up between the large companies and the entrepreneurs. Since then, interest in buying and selling online game goods has grown as players realized that they can find rare items or actually shop for a high level account in a game that they want to try, instead of working their way up from the bottom with a fresh character. Such demand of course creates people who specialize in selling, and with the multitude of successful online games, there are numerous niche markets and angles for any individual seller to take.

Crow sees the unreal estate market in online games as accelerating and spawning new and highly lucrative markets for creative entrepreneurs. Even the large media companies that were initially opposed to the player-based market are warming to the concept. Crow said the companies are likely motivated by the billions of dollars involved. Sony Online Entertainment Inc. has even loosened its stance against any market activity among players and has created within its EverQuest II game the Station Exchange that officially allows its players to buy and sell.

The game Second Life from Linden Lab condones the real money economies that develop among players. Second Life includes a marketplace that moves millions of dollars worth of transactions every month. In-game currency is used in the marketplace but it can be converted to real U.S. dollars through online currency exchanges.

Players of MMORPGs commonly become so involved and devoted to their virtual activities, that items within those virtual worlds attain value. Real money markets have developed naturally across various gaming cultures, and Crow remains very active in following this burgeoning industry and providing up-to-date information. His book “Gaming Pays!” is available at his website http://www.gamingpays.com.

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