$2 billion US dollars: That is the virtual goods market on free-to-play games. In light of that hefty chunk of change, Live Gamer recently announced its partnership with Acclaim, GoPets, and IAC’s InstantAction.com to create player-to-player, virtual marketplaces. These markets will play host to the transaction of real currency for virtual goods.
Of the three partners, GoPets took the first step with the launch of its closed beta on November 20th. Following suit will be InstantAction with its games coming soon in December, and Acclaim launching the beta of its title “9Dragons” sometime during the first quarter of 2009.
An article from Virtual World News quotes Symbiosis Games (developers of GoPets) CEO, Erik Bethke, “We’re excited to fully realize our partnership with Live Gamer and offer our users the safest way to exchange virtual goods for real money online.” He goes on to state, “The added consumer confidence provided by the first truly legitimate online goods exchange is a tremendous asset to our international GoPets economy.”
This statement couldn’t be more accurate. One of the biggest concerns a vast number of people have when purchasing anything online is security; especially when dealing with something that isn’t exactly tangible. Moreover, there are countless virtual currency sellers in places such as China that offer exchange for real money, and anything helps broker international work in addition to better security is a god-send.
The system should be reliable too; based on an upgraded version of Live Gamer Exchange. Features affecting both the publisher and the consumer have been given a facelift with improved search capabilities and listings as well as (and possibly most important) a new multi-factor fraud screening engine.
Considering that Live Gamer has faceted hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of transactions and has the experience of managing an always on virtual economy, these new features are well founded. Andrew Schneider, president and co-founder of Live Gamer, states, “We’ve been able to address opportunities in the live economy and incorporate those learnings… Continued innovation on behalf of our clients and their end-users will always be our focus.”
That said, Live Gamer could very well turn out to be a great service. It’s impossible to say for sure how it will do, but good or bad, it will be interesting to see it unfold.
[via Virtual World News]