ULTIMA ONLINE COMPETITOR
Paying only $3,000 for a castle would make anyone jump for joy. But most people would find it absurd to pay the same amount for a piece of virtual real estate. Yet, some folks are doing just that. This virtual land rush is being fueled by Ultima Online, a medieval fantasy game that combines aspects of multi-user dungeons (MUDs) and role-playing games (RPGs). Players create characters and accumulate virtual assets over time. And these assets can become quite valuable in the real world. Auction sites such as eBay have seen Ultima Online assets go for as much as $5,000. (Business 2.0, 1999)
Unbelievable, but true: People are paying huge amounts for virtual land. Ultima Online is one of the most successful MUD-RPGs (Multi User Dungeon/Role Playing Games) in history, at least from a financial point of view. MUD, a well-known category of games, was already very popular in the character-based world of the Internet – way before the WWW was introduced. RPG, also a very popular game category, allowed players to be “someone else”, play the role of a soldier, magician, sorcerer, king, prince or what so ever. But the gamer was mostly alone or had to play with some friends altogether sitting in front of one PC and passing the keyboard to each other. Gamers had to actively meet each other – personally, to be able to play RPG together.