One of the more bizarre offshoots of the burgeoning MMORPG genre is the sale of virtual items for cool hard cash. BlackSnow Interactive is an honest-to-goodness company composed of seven individuals who make a living out of obtaining hard-to-find game items, currency and characters and auctioning them off on sites such as eBay.
Unfortunately, not everyone is amused by the group's novel business plan. Mythic Entertainment is demanding an immediate abrogation of sales of all items related to its recently released title Dark Age of Camelot. BlackSnow has decided that it will not simply roll over for the developer, and is entering the courts on behalf of gamers everywhere. Mythic has been named as the defendant in a suit brought by BlackSnow Interactive, with the plaintiff citing anti-trust, copyright, and anti-competitive issues.
Lee Caldwell, Director of Sales for BlackSnow Interactive stated that it is, "unfair of Mythic to stop those who wish to sell their items, currency or even their own accounts, which were created with their own time." Caldwell continued by qualifying his company's business as one that looks out of the more casual gamer, those who play, "just a few hours a week [and] canít put in the time required to build their character or collect the items needed to join others in the online battles."
Whatever the outcome of the court battle, the case is a sign that gaming has definitely moved into a new frontier. We'll keep you abreast of the outcome of this potentially far-reaching litigation.