Article published on Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011
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A week ago, Blizzard publicised at a press event that they will be integrating a cash shop identified as an auction house to Diablo III that will allow players to purchase and sell items with actual money. Cash shops or item shops are already a huge craze among free to play games and now Blizzard is adding a twist to it by granting players the ability to cash out the real money they generate through the auction house directly into their own bank account. Blizzard will be earning its share by taking a flat fee from each completed transaction from the auction house.

Vice President of Game Design Rob Pardo claims, "I didn’t want to have an approach where on every transaction we’re taking, let’s say, a percentage, because if we did that, whether we liked it or not I think there’d be a perception out there that we might want to manipulate the market or behind the scenes we’re inputting different items in there or whatever. But I wanted a system that, even though obviously Blizzard is going to benefit from it, it really should be player driven."

You will find gamers who will say this is a bad idea because Blizzard employees could cash out big time when they learn about upcoming updates to the games that will affect the value of certain items. However by taking a flat fee from every transaction rather than percentages, it is much harder to manipulate the market as it is player driven (players set the price).

"Ultimately, players want it," states Pardo. Virtual goods from Diablo 2 continue to be unofficially sold by 3rd party companies for real cash plus a number of Diablo 2 players have suggested that their should be a safe and official way to make in-game transactions for actual money.

Players can search for equipment at the auction house.

Auction house items are listed in actual cash (not in Diablo currency).

"If Blizzard doesn’t do this system, I’m not so naive to think that it’s not going to happen," Pardo continues on. "In the past we’ve really taken this hardline stance of, we will just try to stamp it down in every place that we can. And we could take that approach. But I actually think that with Diablo, it actually will end up being a good thing, at least something that players will be excited about. It really is something that a lot of players are already looking to do."

Although the game will be buy to play (B2P), most likely Blizzard will be making use of a free-to-play option for its marketing strategy allowing players to level up to a certain level (as seen in World of Warcraft today).