In collaboration with The MMO Gamer, I recently wrote a guest piece as a case study in RMT in EVE Online. Here’s a snippet.


To test out the RMT system, I spent the past month exploring various ways to spend my hard-earned money in EVE. First, I decided I wanted some cash. I went to the EVE Online store and picked up 5 game time cards — and promptly ran into my first snag. Game Time Cards may only be ordered in quantities of three or less, meaning I had to make two separate purchases.

The second snag came when I found out that each purchase triggered a $5 international service fee. Wachovia informed me that this is actually a Visa-wide fee, due to CCP’s registration as an Icelandic company (despite their having offices in the U.S.). My next problem came from trying to sell the GTCs through the “Time Code Bazaar” on the forums. While I quickly found buyers, none of them actually went through with the deal.

This is the inherent problem with developer sanctioned RMT. Unless true, unfettered, player-to-player transactions are allowed without developer “regulation”, the market will inevitably be operating inefficiently. Consider gold-farmers for a moment. Setting aside the moral or legal aspects of the trade, and considering from a purely economic standpoint, gold-farmers are the RMT equivalent of large corporations. They operate on the concept of “economies-of-scale”, which basically means that up to a certain point, the larger a company is, the cheaper they can produce that product.

The full article can be viewed at