10 collectibles that only exist virtually
We all know that people are prepared to spend big bucks on collectibles in the real world.
But it might surprise you to learn that some will also pay thousands, sometimes millions, of dollars for items that only exist virtually.
Here are 10 of the biggest sales of items that don’t actually exist.
10. A pulsing green egg
Like all of the entries on this list, Entropia is a "massive multiplayer online roleplaying game" (MMORPG).
What makes it unusual is that it actively encourages players to spend their hard earned (real) cash by converting it into Project Entropia Dollars (PED).
This has resulted in some extraordinary sums paid for in-game items.
Among the highest was this mysterious pulsing green egg, found by a player during a 2013 quest. That player sold it on to a well-known in-game buyer named Deathifier, who had grown very wealthy on renting out land in the game, for an incredible $69,696.
The egg later hatched a creature known as the Feffox, a gremlin-type monster that caused havoc in the game.
In real life Amsterdam is the "go to" place for people with an unusual interest in the erotic, hence its popularity on weirdo aggregator Second Life – where it serves as the game’s red light district.
Unsurprisingly, it’s one of the game’s most popular areas.
In 2007, the in-game render of the city was sold for $50,000 on eBay.
It was consigned by a shady figure named Stroker Serpentine.
8. A really good sword
MMORPG Legend of Mir 3 is little known outside of its native China.
But the game made the headlines around the world in 2005 when one player brutally murdered another over a virtual sword.
Gamer Qiu Chengwei agreed to lend the sword to friend Zhu Caoyuan, who cheekily sold it for just under $1,000.
An incensed Chengwei ran round to his friend’s house and stabbed him to death.
While it’s far from the most expensive item on this list, Zhu Caoyuan definitely paid the highest price.
7. Blue party hats
This blue party hat does nothing.
It has no in-game benefits at all and was, for most players, just an annoyance when the Runescape team released them into the game as a joke around Christmas time.
Players deleted most of them. That served to create a huge shortage and, you guessed it, all of a sudden they became very rare and very valuable.
As in-game items are traded as currency in Runescape, party hats have come to represent the maximum amount of money one player can carry.
Players actively invest in them. They’re valued at close to $2,000 each.
6. A massive spaceship
Online multiplayers don’t get much more obsessive than Eve Online, an epic space-themed sandbox game that allows players to build complex webs of alliances.
This often results in all-out interstellar war, featuring thousands of combatants on either side.
The most powerful ships in the game, known as Titans, are designed for exactly this eventuality.
As you might expect, they’re not cheap.
They go for around $9,000 apiece in "IRL" (in real life) money. And if they get destroyed in the game, that’s your money down the drain.
5. A diamond ring
Occasionally game developers will just try their luck, putting in a jokey (but very expensive) item in the hope someone will buy it.
The diamond ring was available on Team Fortress 2 for a time at a cost of $100 each.
For that sizeable chunk of (real) money, players were able to offer the ring to whoever they wanted. If they accepted, it would be broadcast to all players. If they refused, the ring disappeared (along with $100).
4. A mace
In 2012 a buyer paid $14,000 for a mace known as Echoing Fury in wildly popular role playing game Diablo 3.
It’s one of the most powerful weapons in the game, offering the highest possible one-handed hit rate.
3. High level characters
The sale of characters is forbidden in World of Warcraft (WoW), but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.
As it’s technically illegal, there is of course an ugly side to this trade. So-called “farmers”, often Chinese convicts, are forced to spend months levelling up characters and mining for gold to sell to wealthy western gamers.
2. A nightclub
Ever considered buying a nightclub?
It’s an awful lot of work. You’ve got all the pressures of running the place, long hours and drunk customers.
When you think about, it’s infinitely easier to buy a not real one.
That’s what one enterprising Second Life player did in 2010, paying a massive $635,000 for a (virtual) space station called Club Neverdie containing the nightclub and a shopping centre. It pulls in an estimated $200,000 a year.
Not bad for a business that doesn’t physically exist.
1. Entropia land deeds
The most expensive virtual item (that we know of) ever sold is a set of 25,000 deeds.
They allow the buyer to claim rent from businesses set up in the virtual world of Entropia (home to the mysterious pulsing egg we looked at earlier).
They cost…wait for it…$2.5m.
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