Wired Magazine has published an interesting article about Real Money Trading (RTM – using real money to buy virtual money and goods in games like EverQuest, World of Warcraft and EVE Online). As an occasional customer of RTM traders I found it a fascinating exposé.

Soon enough, amid the daily grind of his obsession, he would see in the game itself a way out of the bleak hole he had fallen into. He would take a clear-eyed, calculating look at what he and his fellow players had been doing all those months—at the countless hours they’d given over to the pursuit of purely virtual but implacably scarce commodities—and he would recognize it not just for the underexploited form of productivity it was but for the highly profitable commercial enterprise it might sustain. He would spend the next half decade bringing that business to life. And though some people would hate what he was building, and others would want to take it all away from him, there would come a day when Pierce, eight years older, could look back on an accomplishment that was bigger than he had ever envisioned—and stranger than he would ever comprehend.

While the article sheds an interesting light on the somewhat shady world of RTM, I get the impression the author has an axe to grind with the RTM-scene as a whole and the topics of his article specifically. The article’s author wrote a book about his own experiences in the RTM world (and doesn’t neglect to plug it) and seems to go out of his way in the article to put some people in a particularly nasty spotlight. But he’s subtle enough about it that Wired’s editors seem to have let it slide.