Diablo 3 Auction House Will Allow Real-World Money Transactions
Last week, we got to spend an entire day at Blizzard HQ in Irvine, California for a lengthy series of interviews and hands-on time with Diablo 3, the long-awaited, still in-development resurrection of the classic action RPG series that hasn’t seen a new game since the expansion pack for 2000′s Diablo 2. That’s a big deal in an of itself, but the biggest news is that when Diablo 3 launches sometime next year, it will include an official auction house for the trade of in-game items.
Much like World of Warcraft after it, once upon a time the Diablo series was known for a brisk gray market trade in in-game items. That trade had no official support, no oversight and relied on an awful lot of trust. That environment continued into World of Warcraft, where we saw outright speculation, stock market stye, that drove up prices on these virtual goods and negatively impacted players’ enjoyment of the game. People occasionally got screwed and quite often paid far more for an item than they should have. There was also the problem that items needed to be traded player to player in the game itself. These issues were particularly bad when the items sold for real world cash instead of in-game currency or barter.
After years of trying to stamp out the gray market, Blizzard eventually got wise and introduced the World of Warcraft auction house. The auction resolved a lot of those problems (and made Blizzard a ton of scratch. Ch-Ching!!), which worked out pretty well for them, unless you consider adding even more money to their massive pile a failure. So naturally they’re looking to build off that success in Diablo 3 right from the start with a Diablo 3 Auction House that will be available day one.
So what will this mean for Diablo 3 players? In brief:
* The Auction House will two sections. The first is for sellers and buyer wishing to use real world currency. This will allow players to purchase items using ‘supported’ real world currencies. A comprehensive list of allowed currencies has not been released, but assume the major world currencies will be accounted for.
* The second section is for sellers and buyers who wish to use in-game (gold) currency earned during play.
* Blizzard will be charging sellers two separate transaction fees; a fee for posting an item, and a small percentage of the final sale amount. No price point has been confirmed but Blizzard insists these fees will be ‘nominal’, amounting to ‘microtransactions’.
* Players choosing to use real world currency will be able to utilize ‘an approved’ third party payment service. PayPal would be the obvious conclusion but Blizzard has not finalized a contract with any payment service yet.
* Players will be able to sell weapons, magical items and valuable in-game objects in these auctions at the time of launch.
For more, see our in-depth analysis of the Diablo 3 auction.