Dark Orbit might not be the most well-known free-to-play, space-based MMO, but for a certain group of fans, it’s a very Big Deal. These people are so wrapped up in their version of virtual outer space that they’re more than happy to fork over real cash – and plenty of it – in order to improve their online experience.
Believe it or not, more than 2,000 gamers put in orders for the spacecraft.This isn’t necessarily the best get-rich-quick scheme you’ve seen recently, however. The German-based developer explains that these payments were not necessarily made using real-world money, as the drones can also be purchased using in-game cash. There’s a catch though – to buy the Zeus Drone while playing Dark Orbit, you’ll need to have already purchased all of the lower-ranking drones, and saved up a decent pile of in-game currency, roughly equivalent to around €1000. Then you’ll be able to buy the blueprints and build it.
Also, the exchange rate for real-world money and in-game cash can vary, especially during the occasional “sale” – so it is “inaccurate” to say that Bigpoint has made €2 million from these drone sales.
That said, Venture Beat reports the company is on course to see more than €200 million in total from virtual goods sold over the course of 2011. Obviously, it’s doing something right.