Proving that you can perhaps put a price tag on stupidity, a gamer has handed over real cash for a pretend spacecraft.
Buzz Erik Lightyear is the delighted and possibly heavily sedated winner of an online auction held for the Crystal Palace Space Station in the MMORPG Planet Calypso. The $330,000 he handed over makes the collection of pixels the most expensive imaginary object in this - or any other - world.
"This is a stunning investment opportunity, and I have complete faith I will recover what I spent relatively quickly," said Erik Novak, whose avatar goes under the name of Buzz Erik Lightyear.
"To say Planet Calypso has changed my life would be an understatement. I have even found the love of my life in the game, and now we live together in real life. I feel very confident about purchasing the Crystal Palace Space Station as I have already invested years of time, dedication, work, hope and love.
"All of those things have already paid off more than I could have ever imagined. With the new game engine, new features and almost ten years of experience Planet Calypso is one of the few safe investments in this economy."
Novak's carer was unavailable for comment.
In space no one can see you dribble
Planet Calypso is home to an expanding human colony struggling with the natural and economic elements involved in establishing their new civilization, it says here.
Crystal Palace, we are assured by the virtual realtor, is an extremely popular hunting destination that is in orbit around Planet Calypso. It will now be privately operated by Novak.
This is the third 'major property opportunity' offered on Planet Calypso. The first auction, for Treasure Island, took place in 2004 and sold for a meager $26,500. Australian gamer David "Deathifier" Storey recouped his full investment within 12 months and has continued to make a profit.
The second auction took place in 2005 when American gamer Jon "NEVERDIE" Jacobs bought a Virtual Space Resort for an unheard of $100,000 USD. Due to his virtual nightclub and the profits obtained from mining/hunting rights and property sales on the resort, Jacob's fortune was valued at $1.5 million in 2006. Operating profitably from day one the Club NEVERDIE Resort brought in over $50,000 in mining/hunting rights alone in its first five months.
First Planet, the developer of Planet Calypso, says it's the largest real cash economy MMORPG in the world. It uses a virtual currency which has a fixed exchange rate with the US dollar.