Notorious tenth drone 'not individually sold'

Bigpoint: We didn’t make 2m Euros from virtual item

Bigpoint has clarified a news report that claimed it had made €2 million from a single virtual item in just four days.

In a meeting with Develop inside its seven-floor Hamburg headquarters, a Bigpoint spokesperson said there was no such revenue surge of that magnitude.

Last week it was suggested that Bigpoint had sold around 2000 certain virtual items for its free-to-play game, Dark Orbit.

It was said that the item – a final drone that completes a collection of ten – represents an equivalent of €1,000 in real-world money. That led industry website GamesBrief to claim Bigpoint had made €2 million during a four-day sales craze.

But Matthias Mirlach, Bigpoint’s lead public relations representative, said the claim isn’t accurate.

Mirlach explained to Develop that there is a multitude of ways in which a tenth drone can be acquired, though it cannot be bought directly.

As an example, Mirlach said if the player already has any of the other nine drones in a set, a tenth would cost far less than €1000.

Nor does the player have to pay anything to acquire the tenth drone, he added, as it can be sought through earning in-game currency – though in this case it would require a substantial amount of work.

Also, Dark Orbit trades real money for in-game currency, which can be invested in-game and help raise further virtual cash. So a small real-money investment, if used wisely, can raise the player’s virtual bank account to levels far above what was put in.

The extent in which a player can buy a tenth drone, therefore, means that it is inaccurate to claim each one sold represents about €1000 in revenue, Mirlach said.

It is believed that Bigpoint had nevertheless shifted about 2000 virtual items in a four-day period – though the importance of this feat is a matter for debate.

On Thursday evening, at an industry event hosted by GameCity Hamburg, Bigpoint CEO took stage and clarified that €2 million had not been made from the virtual item.

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