Econ 101 - Catching Up with MindArk
What MMO currently holds the record for the highest priced item sold for real, not virtual, cash? What long running MMO has a central focus around their economy? I don't blame you if you guessed Second Life or Eve for either of those questions but turns out you'd be wrong. The answer to both of those is Entropia Universe a game from developer MindArk. We don't talk about Entropia Universe a lot at MMORPG so we recently linked up with Klas Moreau, Chief Executive Officer at MindArk, to catch up about the game. Read on to find out what item broke the sales record and how much someone actually paid for it.
MMORPG: Entropia is billed as an MMO. But what exactly is it? What is the social glue that binds it all together?
MindArk: We consider Entropia Universe to be a living, breathing virtual multi-world where players can escape and create their own reality. This isn’t just any MMO game – it doesn’t dictate a certain playstyle or push players down a single direction – it offers a near limitless amount of activities, jobs and items across its expansive universe. When you also factor in the game’s virtual currency, Project Entropia Dollars (PED), virtual items created or acquired have a real cash value where players can turn their PED into U.S. dollars at any time.
MMORPG: You focus a lot on the economy of Entropia Universe, is that the central focus of the "game?"
MindArk: The real-cash economy in Entropia Universe is one of the largest aspects of the game that makes it so unique. It’s a true market and economy based on supply and demand, meaning there’s opportunity for players to acquire, trade and invest through Entropia Universe. The PED system operates across all the various planets, even ones created by third party developers. It generates million U.S. dollars each year.
But there is also a focus on emergent gameplay, allowing players to define their own experience with game. Entropia Universe acts as its own virtual society, where players can join up with others from all over the world to escape reality. With the economy system in place, players can choose their own path. The time a player invests in the game carries a different sense of purpose than a typical MMO.
MMORPG: You brag on your website about the Guinness record for the most expensive virtual item sold, what was it and for how much?
MindArk: Entropia Universe has continued to break its own records for expensive virtual items and properties sold. The virtual property “Club Neverdie” was sold off in parts for a total of more than $635,000. The seller previously bought the property in 2005 for $100,000, making it an excellent investment. The highest value placed on a single piece of loot in the game was over $33,000.
MMORPG: How many different worlds are in Entropia and how do they differ from each other?
MindArk: Currently there are six planets within Entropia Universe, which are Calypso, RockTropia, Next Island, Arkadia, Cyrene, and Toulan. Each world offers a completely different experience from the next. On the Rock n’ Roll themed RockTropia, one might find themselves battling disease-ridden zombies. Conversely, on Next Island players can pursue a wide range of professions from hunting to hairdressing! There’s a place for everyone.
Through our Planet Partners program, any third-party developer can create planets within the game. So, in essence, we’re treating Entropia Universe as its own development platform.
MMORPG: How is MindArk using the technology behind Entropia and applying it do different applications?
MindArk: What’s beneficial about the open Entropia Universe platform is its flexibility. By opening it up to third parties and allowing other developers to create content and systems, there really is a near limitless potential behind the technology. Right now, it’s a little too early to talk about what’s next for MindArk and Entropia Universe, but we are aware and actively working on projects through the platform as we continue to evolve.
MMORPG: How does VR fit into the picture?
MindArk: MindArk has supported the virtual reality platform for many years and recently developed virtual meeting spaces technology for businesses. Right now, we are focusing our VR efforts on non-gaming applications, but could later see this technology for our gaming products, including Entropia Universe.