Earn money playing video games?
Parents often use the argument, “You can’t make a living playing video games,” to encourage their children to do something more productive. But that argument may be null and void, thanks to the highly-anticipated release of the new computer game Diablo III by Blizzard Entertainment®.
The game is in many ways similar to any standard multiplayer online game, but it incorporates a new feature that has raised eyebrows—a real-money auction house—that allows players to turn their gaming skills into cash.
Players who build up their character’s strength and find new unique items within the game can then sell those items for a variety of different real-world currencies—including the U.S. dollar—to other players using Blizzard Entertainment’s auction system. The new feature has many teens pondering the question: Can I play video games for a living?
The answer—to the relief of many parents—is probably not. However, the game could serve as a small extra source of income.
Diablo III isn’t the first game to attempt to establish a virtual economy. Another popular multiplayer game, Second Life, currently allows players to buy and sell virtual goods within the game using a virtual currency known as Linden dollars. While Linden dollars have been exchanged by many users for real-world currency, less than 300 of the games players earn a profit greater than $5,000 per year on average.
How popular are the games? While the Diablo III real-money auction house is still in early stages of development and won’t become fully available until later this summer, the sale of virtual goods through other games and apps is still actively occurring throughout the world. According to a recent study by the market research firm In-Stat, the sale of virtual goods is expected to exceed $7 billion this year. This bodes well for the creators of Second Life and Diablo III, who report having a combined total of more than 30 million registered game users.
How much can you make? The amount of money players earn from Diablo III will largely depend upon the economic principle of supply and demand. All items will be sold in an auction format. Blizzard has stated that the company will not directly influence the market, but will take a 15 percent cut of the profit from all items exchanged for real currency between players. Blizzard has not released estimates for the amount of money in-game items will sell for, however many players have stated in the games’ online forum that they expect sporadic prices until the auction house becomes well established
Who would be interested in the games? Teens who enjoy playing online adventure games and interacting with other players would likely enjoy Diablo III or Second Life. Diablo III is rated “M” for mature by the Entertainment Software Rating Board and is recommended for teens over 17 years of age. Second Life is recommended for teens over the age of 16, though earlier versions of the game were released for teens 14 years of age and older.
So just remember the next time your teen is on the computer playing another computer game, they might just be making some money. For more information about the games discussed in this article visit secondlife.com or us.blizzard.com/diablo3/.
Joe Barry is the digital editor of Central Penn Parent Magazine. He invites readers to follow his blog online at www.centralpennparent.com/Cup-of-Joe/
Are my kids playing age-appropriate video games?
The Entertainment Software Rating Board provides standard age ratings for videogames based upon their content. They also recommend parents follow these tips to ensure their child isn’t exposed to inappropriate content:
- Always check the rating. The ratings that the ESRB provides often include additional information about the games content and who should play.
- Read online reviews to get a feel for what the game contains. Often, online reviews will include video footage of the game being played and an overview of its contents.
- Use parental controls. Most video game systems have built-in functions that parents can set up to prevent games with certain ratings from being played without a password.
- Get involved. By monitoring your child while they play games, you can ensure that what they are playing is not offensive and that they stay safe while they playing online against other players.