Virtual world will run on real cash

A virtual online world in which players can earn and spend real money will officially launch on 30 January 2003, when the final software download for the game is released. The games developers say early glitches, like disappearing money, have now been eliminated.

Project Entropia is a 3D futuristic role-playing game in which players must colonise an alien planet while overcoming various computer-generated obstacles, such as natural disasters and nasty monsters.

Unlike other online games, there will be no charge for downloading the software needed to play Project Entropia. Instead, players must convert real money into the currency of the game - Project Entropia Dollars - in order to buy the things they need to survive. These items will degrade with time, meaning players will need to keep paying to keep playing.

But the Swedish software company behind the game, MindArk, says players will also be able to convert things they acquire inside the game back into real money. Treasure chests, paid for through advertising within the game, will be hidden inside the virtual world.

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News source: NewScientist

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