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The Most Virtual Dollar Ever Spent – Gaming Pays

Imagine making money on a computer game and then going to a cash machine withdrawing that money and spending it on a real night out.

Project Entropia is blurring the boundaries between the real and virtual worlds by creating a cash card allowing its gamers to do just this.

But they don’t get something for nothing. In December 2004, one gamer spent £13,700 buying an island on the games virtual planet Calypso. Within a year, he had made his money back by renting land and taxing miners and hunters! He can now withdraw the cash as his island continues to bring him revenue, yet his customers will never see anything real or tangible for their money.

More recently his purchase has been overshadowed by Jon Jacobs who spent £56,200 on a space resort that he plans to turn into a virtual night club selling music and video downloads.

These virtual entrepreneurs are a new breed of businessmen. But virtual profit translating into real money concerns me in some ways. What benefit is this new global economy having on our real economies?

Project Entropia alone made $165million in 2005 and plans to double this in 2006. Is this where the leisure industry is heading and is it a good thing?

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