"The unsanctioned secondary market for online games is rapidly growing and more and more of our players are taking part in it," said John Smedley. "Not only are we answering the demands of a sizable portion of our subscriber base, but we are also set on establishing the standard for online game sales. SOE is in a unique position to help guide the industry, just as we have since we first opened the world of EverQuest to the public six years ago."
Leading industry analyst group DFC Intelligence estimates that the online game industry in 2003 was $1.9 billion. By 2006, they predict revenue growing to $5.2 billion with continued steady growth, with worldwide online game revenue reaching $9.8 billion by 2009. As this business has grown, so too has the "secondary" market, which is based around the unsupported buying and selling of in-game characters, items and coins. Unofficial estimates of underground "secondary" market trade volume range from $100 – $800 million a year, with titles such as SOE's EverQuest and EverQuest II making up 20% of those sales.
The difference between Station Exchange and other third party, non-sanctioned sites can be summed up in one word: security. When a player decides to auction the use of an item or character, that item is removed from the game world and is moved to a secure Station Exchange server. Interested buyers will be able to browse through all auctions, and will have the comfort of seeing exactly what they are bidding on and knowing that once an auction is complete, the item or character will be placed in their account. Since all transactions happen through Station Exchange servers run by SOE, fraud will be virtually eliminated and the transfer becomes an automatic process. All activities on Station Exchange will be player-to-player on servers designated "Exchange Enabled"; Sony Online Entertainment itself will not sell items, characters or coin.
For more information, visit http//www.stationexchange.com.