Man Spends $1.4 Million on MMO Character, Friend Sells It For $552
It’s not all that rare to hear about someone pouring an exorbitant amount of money into a single video game. Just last month, word came out about one gamer who’d spent around $150,000 on a free-to-play Transformers game. But this latest story exceeds that by a massive margin, not just in terms of money spent but the drama that unfolded around it as well.
In what is definitely one of the biggest cases like this, a man in China spent a jaw-dropping $1.4 million in microtransactions. That’s more than many people make in their entire careers, and South China Morning Post reports that this gamer spent his clearly disposable income on building up a character in a MMORPG called Justice Online.
That in itself would be a wild piece of news, but in an extra twist, that million-dollar character was sold off without the man’s permission and an actual lawsuit resulted from it. According to SCMP, the man had loaned his character to a friend, and the friend reportedly tried to sell it back to him for 388,000 yuan ($55,138). However, the character instead ended up on the in-game marketplace for a mere 3,888 yuan ($552), where it was bought up soon after.
Upon losing such a massive investment, the man filed a lawsuit against the friend and Justice Online’s publisher, NetEase. It was during the court mediation that followed that the friend claimed that the low price was the result of a typo brought on by exhaustion after a long gaming marathon, though why he was trying to sell the character back to the owner who lent it to him wasn’t stated.
The case was eventually settled by a judge who mediated the case online, which Chinese authorities are pointing to as a way for judges to oversee legal matters remotely. Luckily for the character’s owner, NetEase canceled the sale transaction and he was able to get it back, but he reportedly had to pay 90,000 yuan ($12,789) in damages to the player who had bought it for cheap. But at least he got his refund. That isn’t a guarantee in cases like this, as the parents of the teenager who spent $13,000 on Xbox earlier this year could attest.
SCMP’s report doesn’t really dig into why the man spent so much on Justice Online, so we can’t say with absolute certainty that spending $1.4 million is a sign of addiction, even if the numbers definitely suggest as much. Regardless, gaming addiction is a problem China has recently set out to solve, though many are concerned over its new proposals for regulating the time people can spend playing games.
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