Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the EU

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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby Teranoid » Thu Jul 05, 2012 6:24 pm

Accounts, at least from what I've noticed over the past year or so, are next to worthless unless you've got a boatload of achievements,mounts,pvp stuff. I mean unless you want like 60 bucks for 7 years worth of time invested or want to take your chances on those sites that scam you.
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby Fetzie » Fri Jul 06, 2012 4:10 am

I'd rather not sell at all than value my account at under 1000 dollars.
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby Shoju » Fri Jul 06, 2012 6:25 am

And that's really the thing.

How would I value my account? It's probably a ~100 bucks on that market after the B.net Achieve/mount merger.

115 mounts
100+ pets
~10k achievements,
Feats of Strength for two legendaries that aren't "That hard" to get.
Feats of Strength for things that you can't do anymore (reps, mounts that aren't in game anymore)

Personally, if I were even to entertain an offer, I would be in the $1500 range more so than the $100 range.

And that's just not realistic.
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby Skye1013 » Sun Jul 08, 2012 5:10 pm

My thoughts on this:

Paying subscriptions for your account would be the equivalent to paying for a gym membership. With that gym membership, you aren't allowed to sell off the equipment that you're using, or sell the membership to another person (at least not as far as I'm aware.) So why would it be okay to sell your WoW account/characters?
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby halabar » Sun Jul 08, 2012 10:11 pm

Skye1013 wrote:My thoughts on this:

Paying subscriptions for your account would be the equivalent to paying for a gym membership. With that gym membership, you aren't allowed to sell off the equipment that you're using, or sell the membership to another person (at least not as far as I'm aware.) So why would it be okay to sell your WoW account/characters?


Not the same. What you are suggesting would be the same as claiming ownership on a part of the servers.

There are three parts here, and each has it's own legality in selling.

1) Goods that can be transferred between players (gold, gear commodities) - these likely will become sellable at some point, as with D3.

2) Goods that are bound to the character/account - a little more iffy here. Easy for Blizz to say these can't be transferred.

3) Characters - much easier for Blizz to say these can't be transferred.

However, if the EU lawmakers push it, all this may change. I suspect we'll see #1 first.

Ironic that this is happening at the same time that Asian lawmakers are trying to ban the sale of virtual goods in one way or another.
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby Fridmarr » Sun Jul 08, 2012 10:15 pm

Well the gym membership is a decent analogy, though you lost me when you moved to the gym equipment. I guess the wow equivalent would be selling their servers? That's kind of silly.

All you are selling is your access in either case. Admittedly, selling a gym membership is probably a little odd unless you had some great membership package that isn't available anymore or something. Otherwise, someone would just get their own membership and have the exact same experience without the headaches of a transfer.

Wow is the same thing, you are simply selling your access to the game. However with wow, the characters used to access the game make a difference. That said, both of those are almost certainly legal, but neither have to be allowed by the vendor. If they catch you they can cancel the membership. Some gyms do allow transfers of memberships, some don't. Blizzard has said that they don't allow account selling, but I think some games do.

The legality of it isn't really in question, you aren't going to go to jail or fined for selling it, but that doesn't mean the vendor has to honor it.
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby Skye1013 » Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:26 pm

I was equating gym equipment to characters/items, but perhaps that part of the analogy falls through. And I wasn't questioning the legality, so much as Blizzard's "right" to disallow it.
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby Fivelives » Mon Jul 09, 2012 3:14 am

I imagine Blizz will get around it by the forum selection clause in the EULA.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forum_selection_clause

So unless the same thing happens in the US, it'll probably be a moot point.
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby Shoju » Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:26 am

Selling accounts is pretty close to a gym membership in the new fitness shops opening around here. If you are part of the wave, you get special "lifetime" benefits based on the wave, even with a break in services. Most of them have 3-4 "waves" of membership periods when they open up.

The first wave (the intro wave) gets the best membership package, at the cheapest rate available, (bottom tier price) forever.
The second wave (2-3 months after they opened) got a discounted rate as well, but it's "one tier up"
The Third Wave (6+ months, when membership and use is dwindling) get ~10% off

And so on and so forth, until the gym runs out of members, closes, and sells off its equipment to the next guy.

This type of membership tier is pretty easy to analogize to WoW, and these companies have a specific "no you can't sell your membership" type thing, just like Blizz has a "No you can't sell your account" type thing.

What is the point of selling the account really? I guess I just don't see how a few bucks is going to be worth it.
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby Fridmarr » Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:30 am

No different than anything else really, a few dollars for something you'll never use is certainly worth it logically. I get that there might be a sentimental value, but that's not something that everyone will have in the same way. So for some even a few dollars is worth it.
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby Shoju » Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:43 am

For me, even without the sentiment, I just don't see the point of selling it. I will admit that I'm probably the minority in the thought, but selling accounts to me is pretty similar to buying gold.

sure buying gold comes from compromised accounts, and farmers, and general bad things, but I'm definitely in the camp of people who think that paying real money for pixels is not something I want to support. Even in a round about way like selling an account.
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby halabar » Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:34 am

Shoju wrote:... but I'm definitely in the camp of people who think that paying real money for pixels is not something I want to support. Even in a round about way like selling an account.


So you're against the RMAH in D3?.. because those are pixels (and bits in a database) for real money, and along with that, any F2P MMO upgrades?

The crux of the argument really should be around, does the time/effort invested in a character constitute any sort of ownership of that character? The gym analogy fails, since you get to take your muscles (or lack thereof) with you. So selling an account is not just selling access.

In a primitive sense, it would be like trying to sell a highscore on a video game.

But Blizz has opened the door already selling pets/mounts, and by creating the D3 RMAH. So characters are next.
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby Shoju » Mon Jul 09, 2012 11:05 am

halabar wrote:
Shoju wrote:... but I'm definitely in the camp of people who think that paying real money for pixels is not something I want to support. Even in a round about way like selling an account.


So you're against the RMAH in D3?..


Yes.

any F2P MMO upgrades?

Also, not a fan.

The crux of the argument really should be around, does the time/effort invested in a character constitute any sort of ownership of that character? The gym analogy fails, since you get to take your muscles (or lack thereof) with you. So selling an account is not just selling access.

In a primitive sense, it would be like trying to sell a highscore on a video game.

But Blizz has opened the door already selling pets/mounts, and by creating the D3 RMAH. So characters are next.


And you can take your brain with you, but you can't take the perks that are available only to you at the gym, just like you can't take your characters with you.
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby halabar » Mon Jul 09, 2012 11:16 am

Shoju wrote:
halabar wrote:
Shoju wrote:... but I'm definitely in the camp of people who think that paying real money for pixels is not something I want to support. Even in a round about way like selling an account.


So you're against the RMAH in D3?..


Yes.

any F2P MMO upgrades?

Also, not a fan.

The crux of the argument really should be around, does the time/effort invested in a character constitute any sort of ownership of that character? The gym analogy fails, since you get to take your muscles (or lack thereof) with you. So selling an account is not just selling access.

In a primitive sense, it would be like trying to sell a highscore on a video game.

But Blizz has opened the door already selling pets/mounts, and by creating the D3 RMAH. So characters are next.


And you can take your brain with you, but you can't take the perks that are available only to you at the gym, just like you can't take your characters with you.


Not being a fan is not part of the legal question. :wink:

Considering there are efforts to tax the creation of virtual goods in many countries, and the IRS will want to tax me on my D3 earnings, there's more at stake here than just the "goldsellers" argument. Virtual goods are sold in many other online communities, and Blizz has opened the door.

If Blizz wants to sell me a pony-of-pretty-pixels for $25, the time has come to allow for that to be resold to another player.
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby Shoju » Mon Jul 09, 2012 11:31 am

I completely disagree.

When you start blurring the lines like this, its a problem.

Pay for a game.
Pay for a subscription.

I don't like the RMAH, and I don't like Micro Transaction based F2P MMO's because then it starts looking more and more like it can be a "career", or a job.

If you can be taxed for online sales and purchases, you should be taxed for things that you do in a video game. If you live in an area where you are required to pay taxes for online purchases and sales, you are already required to pay taxes for your in game RMAH purchases for D3.

Does it mean that everyone will? Hell no.
Does it mean that most will? Not even close
Does it mean that some will? sure.
Does it mean that you should be taxed? I'm not going into politics about it.

The bottom line, is that I don't like it. I'm fine with paying for a game, and paying a subscription, but I'm definitely no ok with micro-transactions, RMAH, Account Selling, or Gold Selling. There is a pretty easy distinction for me. I don't support that.
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby halabar » Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:17 pm

Shoju wrote:I completely disagree.

When you start blurring the lines like this, its a problem.


Look at a different scenario. SecondLife. A virtual world, that has people buying and selling virtual goods, with real and in-world money.

I think you're letting your distaste for goldsellers/goldbuyers and what impact they have on WoW cloud the discussion of virtual goods in general. Beyond the "rich guy can buy the best gear and didn't 'earn' it" argument, and the impact of goldsellers usually selling stolen gold, there's a broader discussion of what constitutes "ownership" in a virtual environment, and that really is the crux of what can and cannot be sold.

Once Blizz allows for selling gold in D3 (which is coming), then the only thing left that's not sellable is the characters themselves. A good lawyer can probably make the case that if items, commodities, and gold can be sold, then the characters should also be sellable.
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby Shoju » Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:44 pm

halabar wrote:
Shoju wrote:I completely disagree.

When you start blurring the lines like this, its a problem.


Look at a different scenario. SecondLife. A virtual world, that has people buying and selling virtual goods, with real and in-world money.

I think you're letting your distaste for goldsellers/goldbuyers and what impact they have on WoW cloud the discussion of virtual goods in general. Beyond the "rich guy can buy the best gear and didn't 'earn' it" argument, and the impact of goldsellers usually selling stolen gold, there's a broader discussion of what constitutes "ownership" in a virtual environment, and that really is the crux of what can and cannot be sold.

Once Blizz allows for selling gold in D3 (which is coming), then the only thing left that's not sellable is the characters themselves. A good lawyer can probably make the case that if items, commodities, and gold can be sold, then the characters should also be sellable.



No, I'm not letting my distaste cloud my judgement. I think that Second Life is part of the problem as well.

Sorry, paying real money for "in game" stuff, is just not kosher with me.
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby Fivelives » Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:00 pm

Maybe a better analogy than a gym membership would be a timeshare ownership?

Shoju, we've been paying real money for virtual goods for a long time. Ever since the first digital download service started - I think it was Direct2Drive?

Even before that, we had entire industries built on think tanks where a group of talented individuals would get together and be paid for their ideas. How is that any different than someone being paid for virtual goods? Just because it can give one person an advantage over another doesn't necessarily make it a bad thing. I'm sure you've heard the saying "Time is money" - well, what do you value your time at?

It seems to me that you're mostly upset because your time is automatically valued below the time of "rich people."
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby halabar » Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:07 pm

Shoju wrote:No, I'm not letting my distaste cloud my judgement. I think that Second Life is part of the problem as well.

Sorry, paying real money for "in game" stuff, is just not kosher with me.


So even in Second Life, where artists sell virtual artwork? and you can pay to attend virtual performances?

But honest question.. is it that you don't see merit in paying for virtual goods, or because of the "ills" of goldsellers and the like? I'm assuming the former, in which case, do you buy music from iTunes? because that's basically the same thing. Not to mention any apps on your phone or tablet, or software on your computer that didn't have a retail box.

A better example might be the new wave of messaging apps where you get the app for free, and then you buy various icons that you can use in your messages. So what's so different about buying those, and a pretty pony in-game?
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby Shoju » Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:12 pm

I'm not talking about digital downloads.
I'm not talking about think tanks.

I'm talking virtual goods in a video game.

I don't know why you guys are trying to push it past that. I'm not saying that its valued below the time of rich people. That is a fairly bold statement when you know very little of my economic portfolio.

I'm talking about pixels in a VIDEO GAME

That is the problem.

@hal. If I can end up with something that is... "mine" outside of the video game for the "virtual artwork, or performance" then I wouldn't have a problem with it. But we are talking about items WITHIN A GAME I really, truly, do not know how I can make it ANY CLEARER
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby halabar » Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:46 pm

Shoju wrote:@hal. If I can end up with something that is... "mine" outside of the video game for the "virtual artwork, or performance" then I wouldn't have a problem with it. But we are talking about items WITHIN A GAME I really, truly, do not know how I can make it ANY CLEARER


Blue text is key. What defines ownership?

Per your statement, the extra artwork my wife buys for her messaging app is similar. She can't use them outside of the app, and if they shut off their servers, it's all gone. Much like the pixel ponies.

As long as the virtual goods are confined to the servers of that one provider, you can't really say you own them. But that hasn't stopped trade in them.

(I'll also add here that I'm not debating whether I like the idea or not, it's about the legal aspects of "owning" virtual goods, and being able to sell them).
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby Shoju » Mon Jul 09, 2012 2:54 pm

It depends on the language of the contract set forth at the beginning.

In this case, Blizzard has made it clear from at least the time when I started playing, so I would assume in vanilla as well, you don't own it. You have never owned it. It has never been yours to sell.
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby halabar » Mon Jul 09, 2012 3:40 pm

Shoju wrote:It depends on the language of the contract set forth at the beginning.

In this case, Blizzard has made it clear from at least the time when I started playing, so I would assume in vanilla as well, you don't own it. You have never owned it. It has never been yours to sell.


Correct, and there's no US ruling or law to challenge that. yet.

You could probably make the case that since players don't "create" anything in WoW (or most MMOs) that all the artwork and assets belong to Blizz. But Blizz has opened the can of worms with the RMAH, since there are considerable amounts of money changing hands.
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby Skye1013 » Mon Jul 09, 2012 5:18 pm

@hal: There are some key differences between things like Second Life, iTunes and WoW though. I don't have any issues with people buying/selling vanity items... it's when you get power upgrades that it becomes an issue for me, since not everyone has the same economic standing in order to fairly compete for those upgrades. D3 this is less of an issue since the setup is completely different, as in you aren't competing with guilds for world first or whatever... it's all about getting "the best" gear, which then makes the game obsolete upon doing so. This is not the case in WoW, where they create a new content patch and reset the competitions every so often.

Second Life: it's all vanity items. There are no levels, stats, bosses, dungeons, etc. It is purely a roleplaying world where you can edit your avatar as many times as you want for free. If you have the know-how, you can create any clothing you want. I'm not sure what (if any) costs there are to "owning" land to build things, but if you use your know-how to create clothing, sell that clothing, then use the in-game money that is acquired to purchase the land, then you still don't have any need to inject your own RL money into the game. Of course, someone at some point HAD to do so, since there aren't mobs for you to grind gold from (or dailies to do or whatever.)

iTunes: theoretically you could burn a cd with the music/movies/whatever you purchase from iTunes, though it might require a 3rd party program to do so (making the legality come into qestion.)

And yes, this post is discussing more of whether this should happen vs whether it's legal (since it IS legal to sell your account... but it's also legal for Blizzard to ban the account if you do so, thereby creating an inherent risk.)
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby rodos » Mon Jul 09, 2012 6:35 pm

halabar wrote:
Shoju wrote:It depends on the language of the contract set forth at the beginning.

In this case, Blizzard has made it clear from at least the time when I started playing, so I would assume in vanilla as well, you don't own it. You have never owned it. It has never been yours to sell.


Correct, and there's no US ruling or law to challenge that. yet.

You could probably make the case that since players don't "create" anything in WoW (or most MMOs) that all the artwork and assets belong to Blizz. But Blizz has opened the can of worms with the RMAH, since there are considerable amounts of money changing hands.

I think that in D3 or WoW you don't own anything, and are paying for the right to use an item in the game. I also think Blizzard (and other games companies) will fight very hard to keep it this way.

If the US government decided that sparkle ponies and hellion crossbows were items with real intrinsic value, then Blizzard would be in all kinds of a mess because their only value is in their scarcity and Blizzard have complete controll over that scarcity. Having items drop in Diablo would be like issuing shares, or at the very least like running a slot machine. All their source code, procedures, customer service, etc. would need to have 3rd-party audits to ensure fairness. Attack Speed nerfs could only happen with approval from the SEC or FTC, as they would affect the value of players' "portfolio".
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