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

Postby halabar » Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:39 pm

Skye1013 wrote:@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.....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.)


The first issue is still is it possible to own virtual goods that exist only in a virtual environment (and moreso when you can't transfer them out of that environment).

And at present you could argue that is is illegal to sell your WoW account, since the Blizz EULA forbids it, and there is no law contradicting that. On the flip side, Blizz has legalized the selling of virtual goods between players for real-world funds. I think that's a first.

Don't get caught up in the "is it fair" issue.. ownership of the goods is the first and key question.
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby halabar » Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:42 pm

rodos wrote: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".


And since they have formally authorized the trade between players, I wonder when the first legal cases are going to arise. Second Life was too artsy-fartsy to raise the issue (as far as I can recall). You need some nerd-rage to make a legal case.
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby Skye1013 » Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:45 pm

And a lot of that comes down to those agreements:
The Second Life Terms of Service provide that users retain copyright for any content they create, and the server and client provide simple digital rights management functions.

I don't know if that can be interpreted as "owning" it though.
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby halabar » Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:49 pm

Skye1013 wrote:And a lot of that comes down to those agreements:
The Second Life Terms of Service provide that users retain copyright for any content they create, and the server and client provide simple digital rights management functions.

I don't know if that can be interpreted as "owning" it though.


Copyright would qualify for that for items that were created (some of that artwork would be useless outside of the Second Life environment, but the "player" still owns it). Copyright is actually key, since you would have artists selling copies of their work in game, and that would prevent duplication and resale.

That would not apply, however, to pixel ponies or hellicon bows.
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby Fivelives » Mon Jul 09, 2012 11:51 pm

Shoju, would you be as upset if there was a way to get the power upgrades without paying for them? Take League of Legends as an example - there's absolutely nothing available for real cash that isn't available for people willing to put in the time it takes to "earn" it. So in essence, there is a direct corrolation between time and money. It becomes less a matter of "wow, that jerk just bought all the best stuff so that there's no chance for me to compete" and more a matter of "how much in real currency am I willing to realistically value my time and effort at?"

And yes, it's neither here nor there. The question isn't about in-game items being sold for real currency, it's about games themselves being sold for real currency even though there is absolutely nothing physical changing hands, and it's being sold second-hand. It's a holdover from a piracy scare, back when the only form of DRM was pretty much just a check to see if the disk was in the drive when the program booted up. The question now becomes: does a company still own their product even after they've "sold" it to one person, thus preventing that person from re-selling it, simply because it's virtual? Is it fair for Valve to tell people, for instance, that they can't sell their digital copy of Portal, when I can buy the orange box for the Xbox 360 on traditional disk-based media then resell it at any Gamestop?

My answer, and apparently the answer of the European court system, is "no. It's not fair, so we're going to change that." The sale of accounts is completely secondary to the argument, although it seems to me to be a far more interesting topic that's open to a broader interpretation than just a yes or no answer.
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby halabar » Tue Jul 10, 2012 8:23 am

Fivelives wrote:My answer, and apparently the answer of the European court system, is "no. It's not fair, so we're going to change that." The sale of accounts is completely secondary to the argument, although it seems to me to be a far more interesting topic that's open to a broader interpretation than just a yes or no answer.


And most US software developers won't even allow you to sell the package to someone else. Hopefully the EU will push for more changes in this regard.
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby Shoju » Wed Jul 11, 2012 6:59 am

Fivelives wrote:Shoju, would you be as upset if there was a way to get the power upgrades without paying for them? Take League of Legends as an example - there's absolutely nothing available for real cash that isn't available for people willing to put in the time it takes to "earn" it. So in essence, there is a direct corrolation between time and money. It becomes less a matter of "wow, that jerk just bought all the best stuff so that there's no chance for me to compete" and more a matter of "how much in real currency am I willing to realistically value my time and effort at?"

And yes, it's neither here nor there. The question isn't about in-game items being sold for real currency, it's about games themselves being sold for real currency even though there is absolutely nothing physical changing hands, and it's being sold second-hand. It's a holdover from a piracy scare, back when the only form of DRM was pretty much just a check to see if the disk was in the drive when the program booted up. The question now becomes: does a company still own their product even after they've "sold" it to one person, thus preventing that person from re-selling it, simply because it's virtual? Is it fair for Valve to tell people, for instance, that they can't sell their digital copy of Portal, when I can buy the orange box for the Xbox 360 on traditional disk-based media then resell it at any Gamestop?

My answer, and apparently the answer of the European court system, is "no. It's not fair, so we're going to change that." The sale of accounts is completely secondary to the argument, although it seems to me to be a far more interesting topic that's open to a broader interpretation than just a yes or no answer.




You seriously are not reading the words that I'm typing. I'm beginning to get a little irritated about it. Let me make my stance perfectly clear to you in a way that leaves no room for interpretation, because you just don't get it.

I DO NOT THINK THAT YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO PURCHASE ANYTHING IN A VIDEO GAME WITH REAL CURRENCY.
NOTHING.
NOT SPECIAL SKINS
NOT PRETTY HORSES
NOT NON COMBAT PETS
NOT POWER UPS
NOT GOODS FOR YOUR CHARACTER
AND CERTAINLY NOT CHARACTERS.

I've said all this already, but it's like you are too blinded by your own damn point to read properly. Maybe Bold and Caps will finally drive the point home. Buy the game. Buy the subscription if need be. That's it.


I don't care about your time. I don't care about my time. I made reference to "not finding it worth the money" to sell my account, because of the sentiment, and you can't put a price tag on digital pixels in a video game, nor the time it takes to acquire them. If you do, you find, like countries in Asia are realizing, that you are opening up the labor side of things, and then it gets sticky, because if you add up all the time that I played WoW, and had to pay me for that time, You would be looking at almost 200 days of play time.

200 days, Multiplied by 24 hours is 4800 hours.

So what are you going to pay people? Minumum Wage? Min Wage where I live is $7.85 /hr. $37680 is what my time in the video game is worth at minimum wage. That's ridiculous. If we increase that to what I get paid at my ACTUAL job, you would come close to 2.5x that figure.

So paying for characters doesn't work.

You signed the contract by clicking the agree button, I don't really give two shits if you want to argue it in court after that. It's a contract. You agreed to it. If you want to go back and argue it later, well too freaking bad! If you had a problem with it, you should have SAID SO UP FRONT, AND NOT AGREED TO IT

I don't care if you didn't read the TOS and EULA. Ignorance to it, is not my problem. I don't care if some court in the EU upheld it, I DON'T AGREE WITH IT. I DON'T LIKE IT. I DON'T THINK THAT IT SHOULD BE ALLOWED.
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby halabar » Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:18 am

Shoju, I see you arguing two things, which I don't see a direct connection to. On one side, you argue that the TOS/EULA forbid selling accounts/gold/etc. That's fine. On the other side, you don't want the game vendors or 3rd parties (including other players) selling extras, whether it be pets and ponies, farmville speed ups, or any kind of assorted boost in a F2P MMO. Those are two separate issues.

You are correct about the TOS/EULA, I don't think anyone allows that type of transfer (yet).

For selling the extras, you really are pissing in the wind, since EVERY SINGLE GAME COMPANY sells some sort of powerups, pets, ponies, or pernaches that are either a real boost or a cosmetic change. So while you rail against it, everyone is doing it.

/passes Shoju rocksalt, shotgun, and lawnchair

Apart from all that, there's a valid abstract conversation to be had regarding the ownership of virtual goods, and what that implies.
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby Shoju » Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:24 am

Yes, and just like the old adage that your mommy taught you as a kid, Just because everyone is doing it, doesn't make it right.

No. I'm not arguing two points. I'm arguing one point. ONE POINT.

You bought the game.
You paid the subscription.

Move along. I don't care if its the game company selling the pixels, or the player. It is STILL selling items in a VIDEO GAME for real money. The hands that the money is going to make no difference to me, I think that is the part that the two of you are failing to comprehend.

I don't care if you steal someones account and sell their gold,
or blizzard creates some new adorably cute bug eyed pet based on a murloc and charges 25 bucks for it.

Either way, I don't like it. I don't care if they are all doing it. I don't think that it is the business model that we should be shooting for from game companies, and I don't think that we should be further encouraging it from players.

IMO, It is about as valid of an abstract conversation, as discussing the venture of soul trading, You know... if I decided I was going to start buying and selling souls.


EDIT:

And because I value things like friendship, and membership of maintankadin, I'm bowing out of this thread now. The lack of comprehension of written words I am interpreting from responses is only going to further piss me off.
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby KysenMurrin » Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:19 am

I just don't see such a big distinction between paying to enjoy a video game that only exists digitally, and paying to enjoy extras within that video game. (Whether it's actually worth the money is another matter.)
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