Is Virtual Item Trading Gambling? According to a Korean Court, Maybe
Are you gambling when an item drops worth real money?
Notable game blogger PlayNoEvil discusses a recent Korean court case in which the activities of two men prompted a sizable gambling fine when their profits from in-game item sales got a little too big.
Is Real Money Trading Gambling? This has always been one of the fears of online game companies and is a contributing factor to their reluctance to embrace the "secondary market" in virtual goods earned in-game (NOTE: this is not a problem for Free-to-Play games as the items are directly purchased, not earned via play).
After all, there is usually an element of chance in earning a Sword of Coolness - either based on the chance of defeating the Nasty Monster or in the chance that the Nasty Monster will "drop" the sword.
Further complicating the issue in Korea, a law was passed recently that limited the exchange of virtual items for real money in the wake of the online Sea Story gambling scandal.
The specific charges were not listed in the article, but it seems that two players who bought items from NCSoft's game Lineage at an online auction house and sold them for a healthy profit, 20 Million Won (about US$20,000) (Damn! I'm in the wrong business). NCSoft does not officially support or allow such transactions in Lineage.
Read more about the case and tell us what you think right here.