Affinity Media, according to its own reports now ex-owner of IGE, has acquired Wowhead, a World of Warcraft information database and community. Wowhead gets added to its growing network which already includes the very popular Thottbot and Allakhazam. The acquisition came through in a non-disclosure deal believed to be around US$1 million. Interestingly, the news leaked out before it was official at the blog of a former IGE employee at Techsoapbox. Wowhead's official statement was that ".. now that IGE is out of the picture, Wowhead has decided to become a part of the ZAM Network.".
Techsoapbox author Ahmed disagrees and believes IGE and Affinity Media are still affiliated even though Affinity announced that IGE was privately sold
back to Jonathan Yantis. Yantis pioneered corporate-style game currency selling with MySuperSales. The transaction between Affinity and Yantis was only speculations as reported in F13 then quietly confirmed in an April 30`s
reply from the site operator Allakhazam.
At the Virtual Goods Summit 2007, Brock Pierce appeared as Affinity Media representative discussing "Making Virtual Economies Work: What Does it Take to Get it
Right?". He introduced himself saying "... Historically, IGE, and we`ve sold that business, was a proprietary market builder. You could monetize
your time spent playing.". Accepting that he already sold IGE, one of the reasons for the sale could be reflected in his interview with Cnet. The company was having a hard time making profit as
margins on RMT sales are not worth fighting the Chinese competitors for. He said the Chinese competitors would be happy to go for just one percent
profit margin, "they're perfectly happy to accept $20,000 in profit on $2 million of revenue.".
Meanwhile at another discussion "Are Virtual Goods the
Next Big Business Model?", the outlook for virtual goods trade looks pretty good. People from corporates, investors and venture capitalists were
eagerly discussing about secondary market. Dan Kelly has been trying to convince the industry that secondary market is a by-product of a good game and
is actually beneficial to the primary market. He argued that, "We`re out talking to developers because we want to link the markets. You want them to
be in a position that they can try things out and then sell them back on the secondary market if they don`t like them. A secondary market will grow
your primary market.". The growing interest in virtual currency puts the question marks on the negative perception of "real money trading", perhaps
better word is "virtual goods".
Last week we read about the life of Chinese gold farmers in the New York Times, this week it's time for the life of gold farmers catcher. The article shows how gold farmers in
WoW get caught. Watch out for repeated activity patterns, gold trafficking and account links.
[Edited on 6/27/2007 by carebear]