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Secure Virtual Trading Marketplace Launched

by Rainier on Dec. 17, 2007 @ 10:48 a.m. PST

Co-founded Mitch Davis, founder of in-game ad specialist Massive Ent., Live Gamer Inc announced its publisher-supported, secure platform for real money trading of virtual property. Live Gamer is partnering with MMOG publishers and virtual world operators worldwide, such as Funcom, SOE, 10Tacle Studios, Acclaim, GoPets LTD, and Ping0.

Virtual trading today represents an estimated $1.8 billion in real money exchanged annually among MMOG players and virtual world inhabitants who buy and sell rights to use in-game goods, services, and characters(1). To date, such transactions have usually meant braving an unstructured, unsanctioned marketplace in which players lack protection from unethical traders, and do business in violation of the publisher's terms of service. By introducing a fully transparent, secure, publisher-sanctioned marketplace, Live Gamer helps protect content creators from the distorting impact of illicit trading on their intellectual property and provides a safe alternative for consumers around the world who spend millions of hours in-world every month.

"Virtual item trading is already transforming the way people experience MMOGs and virtual worlds, but in its traditional underground context, the impact could be as easily negative as positive for a given player or world. An economy this large clearly needs a legitimate trading infrastructure that serves the needs of each of its millions of participants," said co-founder and president, Andrew Schneider. "Live Gamer has developed a platform with all the integrity, security, and professionalism of any real-world marketplace, and we're working hand-in-hand with publishers to ensure a positive experience for every player."

Unsanctioned trading has had an increasingly negative impact on many participants' and bystanders' game-playing experience. Live Gamer provides a toolset for publishers to preserve the integrity of the in-game economy and offer a legitimate alternative to "gold farming," in which players or organizations aggressively gather items of value within a game for solely commercial purposes, often through sweatshops of underpaid workers and/or automated methods that distort the in-world experience for other players. Live Gamer is the first provider to work with publishers to enable real money trading within their Terms of Service and End User License Agreements.

Said Trond A. Aas, CEO of Funcom, "Virtual trading has the potential to open an entirely new dimension for the player experience in some games, but it has also caused endless grief through the actions of gold farmers and fraud artists, as well as the generally poor quality of service to participants. Live Gamer makes it possible for publishers to satisfy players' growing demand for this type of activity in selected future games by providing a legitimate and balanced outlet that protects their experiences. We really look forward to offering this opportunity to players in our upcoming casual MMOG."

Live Gamer was co-founded by Mitch Davis and Andrew Schneider. Davis, the company's chairman, revolutionized the video game industry by pioneering in-game advertising with Massive Incorporated, which was subsequently acquired by Microsoft. He is also founder, chairman, and CEO of Brash Entertainment, a video game publisher focused on licensed IP. Schneider, Live Gamer's president, has been a digital entertainment industry leader and catalyst for emerging business opportunities at the cross-roads of entertainment and technology for over 14 years. He has held executive management positions at Sony Pictures Digital, NBC and Wind-up Records. Other company executives are gaming and Wall Street veterans, providing a mix of talent that combines Wall Street's best practices with in-depth knowledge of the gaming community.

On behalf of the board of directors, Mitch Davis said, "Even in illicit form, the virtual trading economy has proven that vast demand exists; now Live Gamer will allow this thriving marketplace to reach its full potential. We're confident in the Live Gamer team and its ability to execute successfully, together with the industry's leading publishers, to create a safe and easy option for real money trading."

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