Gamer embezzles virtual cash to settle real debts
Eve Online banker does a runner
As if high-profile investment scandals and the economic downturn weren't bad enough here on Earth, now folks have to deal with it outside our galaxy. Virtually, at least.
Impoverished from real-world debts, the CEO of the largest player-run financial institution in the sci-fi MMO Eve Online stole thousands of dollars worth of the game's currency and traded it for real money on the black market.
Reuters reports a 27-year-old Australian tech worker identified only as Richard - who goes by the handles Ricdic and Ricdics on Eve - helmed the reputable player-run savings and loan "business" Ebank when he embezzled about 200 billion Intersteller Kredits (the game's currency) from fellow players.
He then broke the game's terms of service by exchanging the virtual money for AU$6,300 (£3,050, $US5,000) from other players.
"It was a very on the spot decision" he told Reuters in an interview. Richard said he used the money to cover a deposit on the house and expenses related to his son's medical problems.
Other Eve players who are in charge of Ebank say on the game's official board Richard stole roughly 8.6 per cent of the virtual institution's 2.3 trillion in deposits.
When the scandal broke within Eve, customers made a run on the bank, worried they would lose the money they had deposited.
Although Richard was banned from the game, the punishment wasn't due to the theft itself. Eve's developers at Iceland-based CCP Games have a notoriously laissez-faire attitude to what players can and will do to each other within the confines of the game. Player-organized corporations and alliances are often involved with massive infiltrations and heists, and virtual crime extends to in-game piracy, ransom, and assassination. Richard was ultimately sent packing from the Eve universe for exchanging the stolen credits for real money.
"I'm not proud of it at all, that's why I didn't brag about it. But you know, if I had to do it again, I probably would've chosen the same path based on the same situation," he said.
Ebank claims the bank run has mostly ended and are "very well capitalized" at the moment. Richard has no plans to return to the game and will focus on family responsibilities in real-life. ®
I don't understand why anyone would play a game where you get picked on all the time.
I mean, it's not fair that you get shot at without them REQUESTING permission to fight.
Also it's so stupid that if someone con's you, then your screwed, I have heard that CCP don't deal with in game scammers.
Where is the fun in getting scammed? losing all you have worked for to some stupid buillies who want to kill you for no reason.
Sigh. I think we should all plays Sims 3!!!
To all those who said it's just a game
Yes, it is. And if what he did was done in context of the game I'd fully agree with you. If he'd ripped off his partners and used the money to buy a new mega-battlecruiser or something I wouldn't have said anything - that's what gaming is about. I also used to play Barren Realms Elite and I've also ganked my share of newbies. But what he did here was to win the trust of other players with the intent of defrauding them *to make REAL money*. He let the mentality of the game spill over into real life. To further the "if you kill someone in a game does that make you a murderer" analogy - if you practice assaults and make friends in the game for the purpose of recruiting people to really go out and kill a dozen class/workmates - yes, it does.
That is why I stand by what I said. He's prepared to defraud people for real-world gains. I wouldn't want someone like that in my company. End of story.
Ok, so let me get this straight. He managed to sell virtual money, in the real world for real money.
That must mean that there is some kind of exchange rate.
And obviously a black market for ISK vs real money.
I wonder what the exchange rate is between pounds, dollars and ISK?