Blizzard testing real-money transactions

Blizzard has caused quite a stir when they announced that players will be able to purchase Diablo 3 items of real money. Admittedly, they won’t be creating these items from thin air but they will take a cut from every transaction that occurs between players.

Now Blizzard is testing the water for introducing RMT to their flagship – World of Warcraft! They found an ingenious way to do it – by adding a pet that costs $10 that could then be posted to the auction house and sold for warcraft gold.

Several bloggers called Blizzard greedy for introducing real money to WoW. Blizzard have defended their decision with no excuses about it being actually about pets:

While our goal is to offer players alternative ways to add a Pet Store pet to their collection, we’re ok with it if some players choose to use the Guardian Cub as a safe and secure way to try to acquire a little extra in-game gold without turning to third-party gold-selling services.

However, please keep in mind that there’s never any guarantee that someone will purchase what you put up for sale in the auction house, or how much they’ll pay for it. Also, it’s important to note that we take a firm stance against buying gold from outside sources because in most cases, the gold these companies offer has been stolen from compromised accounts. (You can read more about our stance here.) While some players might be able to acquire some extra gold by putting the Guardian Cub in the auction house, that’s preferable to players contributing to the gold-selling “black market” and account theft.

Of course, a $10 pet has a limited appeal which will limit the price it’s going to fetch at the auction house. However, I’m willing to bet this is just a test case for Blizzard. If enough players buy it for real-money and then sell it at the AH, I bet they are going to introduce a LOT MORE items of the sort.

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