Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Sony's Experience with Its RMT Site

Alone among the major MMORPGs, Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) maintains a sanctioned RMT site, called Station Exchange. There, players can buy and sell in-game items, currency, and characters.

Station Exchange launched in 2005 on two Everquest servers and in February SOE released a white paper detailing its experience with the first year of Station Exchange.

Although this white paper, “Station Exchange: Year One” by Noah Robischon, has been discussed elsewhere, I thought it was interesting enough to post a link to download the paper from Anyone interested in the topic should also read’s interview with SOE’s CEO, John Smedley here.

You can also check out SOE’s press release on the paper here.

Among some of the more interesting findings in the paper:

  • Total cash that passed through Station Exchange in its first year was $1.87 million, averaging nearly $2,600 per day.
  • Sony generated $274,083 in revenue during the first year of Station Exchange. About 68% of that amount came the 10% commission on successful transactions, with nominal listing fees constituting the remainder.
  • A single platinum piece in Everquest 2 was equal to $7.35 averaged over the year.
  • The large majority of completed auctions were for in-game currency. Of the nearly 40,000 transactions, 68% were for currency, 18% were for items, and 14% were for characters (though characters had by far the highest prices).
  • A high level Everquest 2 character sells for as much as $2,000.
  • The top single seller on Station Exchange completed 351 auctions to earn $37,435.

Robischon also reaches some interesting conclusions about why players engage in RMT:

  • “The majority of people paying real money for virtual items are not part of a criminal underground that is preying on the player base at large. They are not ‘farmers’ looking to make a quick buck.”
  • “Station Exchange traders are not radically different from the rest of the EverQuest II player base.”
  • “Station Exchange is not an extension of game play. It is a utility. It offers a fundamentally different approach to play: a means of skipping the boring parts.”