The real-life housing market might be in the dumps, but a Hollywood real estate mogul is making a killing in the virtual world. Jon Jacobs, aka “Neverdie” in the massively multiplayer Entropia Universe, just sold a virtual nightclub for the actual price of $635,000.
Proceeds from the sale will fund Jacobs’ virtual planet-building ventures, which could in turn create actual revenue streams for Hollywood, the recording industry and traditional media sources. Really.
“Club Neverdie” is one of the hottest virtual properties in the Entropia Universe, the first virtual world with a real cash economy. An asteroid around Planet Calypso, Entropia’s first planet, is the club’s home. Jacobs bought the asteroid in 2005 for $100,000, after taking out a mortgage on his real-life house, according to Forbes.Since then, Club Neverdie became a haven for other players visiting its bio-domes, nightclub, stadium and mall. Jacobs was making around $200,000 in actual cash every year from players purchasing virtual goods and services, Forbes explains.
That kind of profit helps justify the club’s selling price — as long as Entropia users keep spending money on virtual goods, the buyers will earn it back in short order. If Farmville’s popularity is any indication, virtual transactions settled with real dollars aren’t going away anytime soon.
In the recent sale, Jacobs sold off Club Neverdie in chunks, the largest of which went to an avatar named John Foma Kalun, who paid $335,000. Forbes says it might be the largest virtual transaction ever, beating the previous record set by Erik “Buzz” Lightyear, an Entropia resident who bought The Crystal Palace Space Station for $330,000 in 2009.
Jacobs’ story is the type you couldn’t make up if you tried. He’s the son of a former Miss United Kingdom and a British financier named “Mr. X;” he's a struggling actor and independent filmmaker; and his office is in Hollywood’s famous El Capitan Theatre building. Dude even has his own theme song.
He is working on a new virtual planet called Rocktropia, where players can listen to live virtual concerts or go on music-related quests, Forbes says. Jacobs is confident virtual worlds will become mainstream: “What typically happens with a new medium is that pop culture has to embrace it before it loses its real stigma of being narrow," he said.
The prospect of half a million dollars in pure profit certainly won't hurt.
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