The world record for "most expensive virtual item sold" has been raised, as a man has purchased real estate in Entropia Universe for a staggering $330,000 in real-world money.
Despite not being a household name like World of Warcraft or Second Life, Entropia Universe is one of the most interesting virtual worlds out there simply because it fully embraces the concept of RMT - that is, real-money transactions: Paying real cash for virtual stuff. The in-game currency, or PED, has an exchange rate of 10:1 with the USD, and the game actually has a license from the Swedish government to act as a real bank.
In 2006, Entropia personality Jon Jacobs mortgaged his house to buy an online asteroid in the world for $100,000, then a record for the most expensive in-game purchase ever. Jacobs proceeded to set up an exclusive in-game club called "Club Xanadu", and would go on to be a real-life businessman in a virtual space to recoup his money.
Now, an Entropia player named Buzz "Erik" Lightyear (or should that be Erik "Buzz Lightyear" Insertlastname?) has shattered Jacobs' record, winning an auction for the prized Crystal Palace Space Station for $330,000 - that's more money than a lot of real houses would go for. It isn't quite a dumb buy, though - Lightyear will receive a cut of the profits of all transactions that occur on the station, as well as income from players who decide to hunt rare creatures in the station's proving grounds.
It's pricey, and seems kind of silly, but hey - it's certainly a better investment than one of those gold Wiis.