The Legality of the Video Game Black Market

The world has seen a rise in commerce in many facets of life. It’s hard to believe that a decade ago the internet was still in its infancy – all of the tech giants that now influence daily life were just getting started in the now famous garages. Companies like Amazon now are so ingrained in our lives that the founder, Jeff Bezos has now surpassed Bill Gates as the richest man in the world. Given this new economy that has been created a new market that has yet to be regulated by the law. The increasing popularity of the internet has caused a huge increase in time spent online. Today’s topic will be on the emergence of the Video Game black market economy.

If you’re a video gamer, you know how crazy the fads have been over the past decade. Games like Maplestory, World of  Warcraft, and Runescape are just some of the few popular MMO’s (Massively Multiple Online) games that have struck the hearts of many gamers. As people invest more and more time of their days into these games, the value they place on various in game items has become tangible. The video game black market has now become a billion dollar industry that sees steady growth year after year. Players in these games are now reaching a point in their lives where they have access to disposable income to spend on sought after items in these games. The Riverside team has reached out to one of the largest Runescape Gold sites for an exclusive look in the world of video game real world trading.

Nexus is the operator at RSgoldstop.com. He lives in Venezuela, a country where the minimum wage is so low that he is able to make a living flipping in game gold (known as RS3 GP) by purchasing in bulk from large scale suppliers and then reselling at retail to individual gamers. We asked him, who are most of your customers and why do they buy gold? The answer we received was simple: gamers that buy gold are all lovers of the game. Some of them buy rs gold to show off to their friends and others will buy gold to finally obtain the items they dream about. In all, the website serves as an avenue to provide accessibility to otherwise unobtainable items. As an added benefit of being a customer on the site, customers also receive access to articles that include free RS3 moneymaking guides. The truth is, as long as people place value in an item, there will be a market.

In addition to e-commerce sites like RSgoldstop, there have been a increase in entrepreneurial minded individuals who stream the game or make informative videos for players to consume. Platforms like Youtube and Twitch have allowed many gamers to make money by playing video games. Truth be told, the market for video games and other online businesses has just begin. As the world becomes more dependent on fast and easy communication via the internet, the market will continue to bloom. With this trend, comes the issue of legality. Video game studios are arguing that these black market transactions are effectively intellectual property theft. The law has yet to adapt to this market so until a precedent is set, the market will remain in a grey area. The law has to place actual value on these pixel items before any damages can be claimed. Until that is established we see no reason to condemn these video game e-commerce sites for capturing a market that has yet to be claimed.

 

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