Recently there’s been a flurry of news about Diablo III, among them a potential release date later this year. But what’s most surprising is the fact players will have access to the auction house where they can sell items for real money to other players. Blizzard explains it as a way to combat gold sellers, but I see it differently: this only makes it easier for them.
Common knowledge is that most of these companies (often sweat shops) are based in China where young workers are being exploited for ridiculously low wages to farm and grind all day long. For the most part such practices are illegal, but of course that doesn’t make it go away. What I see happening is that these young, frequently underage boys will now be playing Diablo 3 all day long and sell those items for real money. And Blizzard is not only okay with it, but they even created a system that makes it extremely easy, and most importantly legal.
Most people when they heard about selling loot on the auction house in D3 thought how they could potentially make money playing the game, but that’s simply not true. You won’t even be able to get enough even for pocket change, because when these underpaid workers start grinding bosses and equipment and selling it the prices will get extremely low, and if you thought about earning money on Diablo think again. For the employers of the aforementioned workers this will most likely be a very profitable business, but the workers will still get less than $2 per day.
As a player this really doesn’t affect you much. If Blizzard decided to make a now already standard cash shop with items for Diablo III nobody would think twice about it, if not for the fact this is a single-player game (or maybe not?). This on the other hand is a completely different story, and how exactly it’ll unfold it yet to be seen.
There is however a clear winner in all of this, and it’s obviously Blizzard. They’ll sell you the game, and then take a cut from every single item sold. It’s definitely good business for everyone, except those guys working for $2/day.