Video Game Law Blog

September 07, 2006

Here's another dispatch from the wacky world of virtual property. Various players in the on-line game 'Eve Online"? gave large amounts of in-game currency to another player who operated an in-game on-line bank. The purported banker then made off with all the money, which caused quite a stir in the Eve Online community. However, the game's terms of use and EULA are permissive, and allow all sort of cons, swindles and thefts.

The interesting question is whether in-game activities like the bank con (which are permitted by the game's EULA) should have any real-world consequences. Arguably they shouldn't, seeing as how it's all part of a game and doesn't involve real money. The flip side, of course, is that in-game items and currency (including Eve Online currency) can be bought and sold outside of the game for real-world money. Did the victims of the scam lose something with real-world value? Should they be entitled to seek real-world remedies? If so, from whom? We don't have quick answers for these questions, but this story is another good example of the issues raised by virtual property.

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