The Diablo 3 Virtual Currency Experiment
Blizzard's new highly anticipated game, Diablo 3, will introduce - among other things - a controversial dual auction house system; Virtual goods produced in-game by the players can be potentially traded in two different auction houses; the first one using gold (an in - game currency) and the second using real world money (USD ,Euro etc. depending on the region).
Gold and real currency will also be exchangeable - providing for the first time in a high-profile MMO the opportunity for players to earn real money without having to deal with shady third party service providers. Players selling things on the real money auction house will be able to "cash out" using a third party payment service.
The economy itself will be purely regulated by players, as Blizzard will not offer any virtual goods for sale; thus the exchange rate between gold and real currency will change dynamically over time based on supply and demand rules.The game's economic ecosystem will also be huge, as there will be a single auction house for an entire region.
This dual auction house system also signifies a shift in Blizzard's traditional subscription model known from World of Warcraft. Other than the initial revenue from game purchases, the company will generate extra cash by applying a cut on the real money auction house transactions, effectively behaving as a type of E-Bay. It will be interesting to see, as time goes by, how this experiment will play out.
More details about how the auction house system will work can be found in this official FAQ transcript. Diablo 3 release date has been placed in early 2012.