MMOG publishers have supported and funded Live Gamer, a legal auction house for virtual items.
Live Gamer Inc., a publisher-supported virtual item marketplace, is launching a secure service for exchanging real money for virtual goods. To achieve a lively exchange, Live Gamer has partnered with major MMOG publishers Funcom GMBH, Sony Online Entertainment, 10TACLE STUDIOS, Acclaim, GoPets LTD, and Ping0 Interactive Limited and raised $24 million in capital from Charles River Ventures, Kodiak Venture Partners, and Pequot Ventures. By working with the publishers, game companies will be directly fighting the digitals goods black market with a service that is monitored by and works within the Terms of Service for MMOG publishers.
Live Gamer was started by Mitch Davis and Chairmen Andrew Schneider. Davis served at Massive Incorporated, the game advertisement firm acquired by Microsoft and is currently the Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of game publisher Brash Entertainment. Live Gamer's President Schneider has held executive spots at Sony Pictures Digital and NBC.
"Virtual item trading is already transforming the way people experience MMOGs and virtual worlds, but in its traditional underground context, the impact could be as easily negative as positive for a given player or world. An economy this large clearly needs a legitimate trading infrastructure that serves the needs of each of its millions of participants. Live Gamer has developed a platform with all the integrity, security, and professionalism of any real-world marketplace, and we're working hand-in-hand with publishers to ensure a positive experience for every player," stated Schneider.
Trond A. Aas, Chief Executive Officer of Funcom, commented, "Virtual trading has the potential to open an entirely new dimension for the player experience in some games, but it has also caused endless grief through the actions of gold farmers and fraud artists, as well as the generally poor quality of service to participants. Live Gamer makes it possible for publishers to satisfy players' growing demand for this type of activity in selected future games by providing a legitimate and balanced outlet that protects their experiences. We really look forward to offering this opportunity to players in our upcoming casual MMOG."