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Man Who Paid $335K for Virtual Property is Virtually Insane

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We already know that, with a little ingenuity and a dedicated fan base, a bunch of ones and zeroes can fetch hundreds of millions of dollars. Be it sites, apps, or social networks, if it has millions of visitors, someone like Google or Apple could snatch it up in a second. But the absurdity of selling virtual property comes into sharp focus whenever the transaction occurs solely within one environment -- non-transferable to another online realm.

But this isn't something as routine as someone paying thousands on eBay for a more experienced World of Warcraft character -- a practice that was ended not by everyone coming to their senses but because the auctions were laden with viruses. No, this was worse than a couple pawned orcs. This was the sale of a virtual space station in a game you've never heard of for $635,000.

This past weekend, Forbes profiled the man who created the property. Jon "Neverdie" Jacobs spent five years building up a virtual asteroid, Club Neverdie, in the multiplayer online role-playing game Entropia. What would have been understandably labeled the actions of a lunatic -- putting a mortgage on your actual home for $100,000 to spend it on a virtual one -- it has paid off in spades, making him $200,000 annually. Thanks to the 10:1 Entropia bucks to actual US dollars exchange rate and users even more deluded than Jacobs.

Plus, they probably don't have their own theme song.

But eclipsing all others, Yan Panasjuk bought the chief portion of Club Neverdie for $335,000 -- making it the largest payout for virtual property in history. But Panasjuk has good reasons for it. He told Forbes over email:

When motion pictures were first invented there were a lot of critics saying that it is a novelty act and it would never amount to anything nor will be able to make any real money once the novelty wears off – last time i [sic] checked Avatar has grossed 2.7 billion dollars world wide. Most recent example is MTV and Internet but then you know those stories well enough. Virtual Universe is the next logical step in world entertainment and although there are a lot of critics and people shaking heads it is here to stay and take its ranks among the greats.

Yes, Avatar is a great example... of capturing lightning in a bottle with a gimmick that other studios are sinking billions into despite flagging interest and profits.

You sure you want to keep using Avatar as defense to your purchase?
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.