Virtual Goods Trade To Boost In-Game Advertising?

The biggest news of the day is that Sony Online Entertainment, the maker of the wildly popular and massively multiplayer games Everquest and Star War Galaxies (and PlayStation and PlayStationPortable) decided to let players trade virtual game goodies for real cash on Sony's official ebayesque Station Exchange auction site. Wired broke the news, and Terra Nova, the most authoritative blog on gaming theory ran comments by many academics and industry practitioners. In case you are not in the loop, virtual game goods (swords, armor, play money and such artifacts as Glowing Fingers of Might) have been traded by players for a long time on both on ebay and other not-quite-legal sites.

Now that this trade is legalized, we will see more people for whom making virtual goods will become their primary occupation. And as these people begin to compete with each other to peddle their wares, we will see the growth of DIY in-game advertising. The in-game media infrastructure will evolve to accommodate the demand. Who knows, maybe one day there will be in-game ad agencies servicing these businesses. "The unique double-action sword! Kills dragons and skins them, too."
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