In the past, we were skeptical of the concept behind There.com, an online world where people were expected to pay extra for a pair of virtual Levi's. It seemed like we were right, in that the company eventually completely changed its business model (and company name) to selling simulation software to the military. However, with recent stories about how people are making a good living buying and selling goods in online games, apparently the idea is worth revisiting. An online virtual car racing game in Korea is apparently attracting a ton of people (estimated at one quarter of the population), and they're doing it with a similar model. Playing the game is free (something that There.com missed also), but the company is making money by getting people to buy accessories in the game to either make themselves or their car look cooler. Still, an even more interesting aspect is that some people in the game are making a living doing so, by accepting sponsorships in the game. Sponsoring video gamers isn't new, but this is the first I can recall where the main sponsorship display takes place within the game. Perhaps with so much focus on putting ads in video games this was an obvious next step -- especially as video games start getting shown on TV and merged with real sports.
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