Home Sales Down, Space Station Sales Up

I've been looking for a house lately so I've gotten used to realtor-speak. "Charming" generally equals outdated, "unique," tends to imply some terrible architectural decisions (like the octagonal house I recently saw) and "needs your loving hands" means overrun with cats and thousands of old newspapers.

But when I recently read of a property that sold for $330,000 I was dumbfounded by the jargon. The property listing reads:

Crystal Palace Space Station
• Four individually themed 100,000m² hunting domes.
• Two high level creatures - Aurli and Kreltin - which will remain exclusive to Crystal Palace.
• A standard land management system allowing the owner to populate each hunting dome uniquely.
• A space craft docking area, to be introduced when space flight returns.
• 17 shopping booths.
• An event area in each dome.
Wow, your very own space station for $330k, sounds like a real bargain. Until you realize that it's located on Planet Calypso, a virtual world. Yes, in the midst of the great recession, someone actually paid $330,000 for a virtual space station. To be fair, it does have Aurli and Kretlin exclusivity.

Yesterday Swedish Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game (MMORPG) developer First Planet Company announced that it had shattered the Guinness World Record for "Most Expensive Virtual item" with the sale of said space station. The winning bidder, Erik Novak, known on Planet Calypso as "Buzz Erik Lightyear" thinks he made a sound investment, saying "This is a stunning investment opportunity, and I have complete faith I will recover what I spent relatively quickly." Adding, "Planet Calypso is one of the few safe investments in this economy." In your face Ben Bernanke!

So just how will Buzz recover his cash? By charging other "people" to hunt and shop on his new land. You see, in Planet Calypso players have the ability to participate in a unique real cash economy where they can deposit and withdraw real currency. The virtual currency used in the game has a fixed exchange rate with the US dollar of 10:1. I'll take that over the Euro any day.

Experts anticipate it taking up to 5 years for Buzz to re-coup on his investment. Let's hope that in that time Planet Calypso hasn't succumbed to an alien attack, hacker or change in management.