Mortgages scarce for real property, but virtual world investment heats up.
Since real estate is in the tank and the stock market is a crap shoot, investing in virtual real estate might make some sense. Turbine scooped up $40 million, and that's not even in the top two "virtual world" investment jackpots received so far this year. 9You ($100 million) and Realtime Worlds ($50 million) combined for almost half of the total money received in the first half of 2008. According to TechCrunch:
A report put out today by Virtual Worlds Management tracks $161 million put into 14 virtual-world investments during the second quarter of 2008. In the first quarter there was even more activity, with $184 million put into 23 virtual worlds and supporting technology companies.
How much would $345 million buy of Azeroth? Probably not the whole eastern kingdoms, but I bet you could get a nice villa overlooking the Vile Reef.