Online gaming can be an expensive habit.
That will become increasingly true when game developer Blizzard Entertainment launches the hotly anticipated Diablo 3, which will let players bid for in-game items with real-world money.
The new Diablo 3 "auction house" will charge sellers to put their loot under the hammer, with an additional flat fee for each successful sale.
Blizzard's hugely popular World of Warcraft is known for its thriving underground economy, where rare items change hands for hundreds of dollars at a time. "Gold farming", the practice of gathering and selling in-game currencies for a profit, was already a $2 billion a year industry in 2009, according World Bank figures.
Blizzard has consistently opposed trading for cash in World of Warcraft, but with Diablo 3, the company seems to have embraced the practice and decided to take a cut of their own. With sales expected to pass well into the millions, real money auctions could become a steady source of extra income both for Blizzard and dedicated players.
So far, no official release date has been announced for the game.
Check out a trailer for "Diablo 3" (below).
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