Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sparter CEO Dan Kelly Interview

Sparter doesn't usually put up blog posts so when this one came through I thought it was an interesting read. Its an interview of CEO Dan Kelly of Sparter done by Usable Markets Alex Kirtland.

Some interesting information from the interview for me was these points from Dan Kelly:

Globally there is a 2 billion dollar per year business for digital items in all the online games, from World of Warcraft to Maple Story, mainly centered on games in the Korean, North American and European markets.

Imagine that, a whole economy worth 2 billion dollars that could basically be erased if someone formatted each game company's hard drive.

A typical seller makes enough to play World of Warcraft for free - about $200 a year - but some make a lot more than that.

I chuckled at this one since I find making gold fairly easily. Why would someone just make a few hundred, and leave? I guess the answer to that is that I know a lot of people who stop playing wow, and just sell off their gold/characters never to come back to the game again.

Some guilds in WoW, for example, only want to raid. They prefer to buy the gold they need and focus their time — 20-50 hours per week — on the parts of the game they love most. This is not a bad thing.

Desperate times call for desperate measures I guess. I remember raiding with a not so full guild, and we were always hurting for certain classes or consumables. While hard core role players hate people who just buy a lvl 70 character or buy gold just to get mounts or gear instead of instancing. There are times when those people just shut up just to have that extra player or character around. This way the whole guild can experience end game raids, and get further ahead. The 20-50 hours a week raiding adds up, and when you have to farm for repair costs or consumables you either have to play WoW full time, make a lot of gold efficiently, or straight up buy gold to stay ahead in progress.

We think that online communities will continue to grow at very attractive rates. As they get bigger, more people will want to trade. And the secondary markets will have to be there because otherwise they’re absence will hold back the growth of the primary markets.

The black market for gold in World of Warcraft or currency in other games will always exist as long as it takes a certain amount of time required to maintain a character. The key is the time required to acquire those items. There's no black market currency for games like Dota, Team Fortress, Counterstrike since all players start out equal with items being reset at each session. However once you start involving time or ranks a market will appear to sell that service to save you time. Even if one were to try, and stop a virtual black market. They would just find another way to sell the services without getting caught.


david p. said...

I agree, the WoW black market will always exist. Its impossible for there not to be a market for a virtual market as amazingly huge as WoW. Blizzard would do better to embrace the market, rather than enact infeasible policies that they can never enforce.