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This week's Casual Play sees Steve Wilson exploring the notion of Sony Online Entertainment's Sony Exchange and what it means for the average casual player.
In June of 2005 Sony Online Entertainment did something that caused more wailing and gnashing of teeth than any class nerf in their history. They allowed players on some EverQuest 2 servers to buy and sell virtual items to each other on an authorized reselling site.
For years, the practice of buying and selling virtual items has been strictly forbidden. Rather than discourage this practice, all the ban did was force buyers and sellers into black markets. This prohibition of virtual sales really hurt casual players more than anyone else. Those players that didn't have the time or inclination to grind out levels of the very best gear typically were left behind by more dedicated players. Casual players that tried to even out their lack of dedication by simply purchasing hard-to-get items were often left to rely on unscrupulous sellers completely outside of the boundaries of the game. These sellers could simply walk off with a buyer's money without any worry of prosecution.
You can read the whole column here.