World of Warcraft developer-publisher Blizzard has revealed an in-game auction house in Diablo III that uses real money.
Gamers will be able to buy, sell and trade digital items in the PC RPG using real-life currency, with sellers taking “the majority of the cash” for each transaction.
Blizzard showed off the auction house payment system at a media event in California last week. According to GameSpy, Blizzard exec VP Rob Pardo gave a presentation to members of the press entirely dedicated to the new feature.
“People were going to [sell items for real money] anyway, and this way it's secure,” he said. “As long as players are having fun, whatever they’re doing, I consider that a success.”
Blizzard will charge players a fee to list items in the auction house and will take a small cut from the final transaction. A set amount of items will be also be able to appear on the auction house for free each week.
Gamers will allegedly have to go through a third-party vendor to cash out any money they have stored in the game. There is also the option to trade items directly with other players.
The auction house system in Blizzard’s colossal MMO World of Warcraft currently uses in-game gold as opposed to real money. But the game has been plagued by illegal ‘gold farmers’ in the past, who use computer-controlled ‘bot’ players to harvest virtual currency and rare items which are sold on for real money.
Pardo said that these bots will likely crop up in Diablo III, but “if it does and it doesn’t really break the game – if it gives players what they want – what do we care? Who are we to interfere?”
A firm UK release date for Diablo III has not been confirmed although the game is expected to hit shelves later this year.