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The Most Expensive In-Game Purchase In Gaming History

Take a look into the most expensive in-game purchases in gaming history and you will quickly be pointed toward Entropia Universe. 

Entropia Universe is an MMO realm with a currency that has a fixed 10:1 exchange rate with USD. Colonists are able to join for free, perform real work, make real money, complete trades, and even purchase real estate with actual money. You may have thought spending $100 on Candy Crush was a lot, but purchases for digital real estate can go into the millions. Over the years, many of the planets that comprise Entropia Universe have been sold for real cash.


The most famous of Entropia Universe planets is Planet Calypso but there's also Planet Arkadia, Rocktropia, Next Island, Planet Cyrene, and Planet Toulan. Each of these planets has its own theme and, importantly, finite geography and resources. Real estate and items within the game are able to be traded for real-world currency because there's a functioning in-game economy. 

And that economy can lead to some pretty big sales.

In 2011, SEE Purchased Planet Calypso for $6 Million

Planet Calypso was initially developed by MindArk as a the first planet in Entropia Universe. But in 2011, another company — SEE Virtual Worlds — purchased Planet Calypso from MindArk for $6 million, making it the largest in-game purchase ever. While $6 million for a digital planet may seem like quite a lot, Planet Calypso's real estate was already booming before this sale went through. In 2010, a player had sold a single Planet Calypso resort for $635,000


Real estate in Entropia Universe operates just like real estate in the real universe, with deeds to malls, shops, houses, and apartments. Because there's a finite amount of space, homes and commercial spaces within Planet Calypso can appreciate in value. And because there's a locked exchange rate between Entropia Universe and the real universe, people know they have a specific amount of currency in real, US dollars. People can even run retail businesses, such as malls, buying and selling digital items. 

In fact, players can even invest in shares of digital companies in Entropia Universe. The Crystal Palace Space Station was sold for $330,000 in 2009 — and as of 2019, players are able to purchase their own portion of it.


Beyond Planet Calypso and Entropia Universe

With values in the millions, it may seem like cheating to use Entropia Universe as the only example of high dollar in-game purchasing. But Entropia Universe isn't alone in selling digital goods and real estate.


Back in 2007, Wired reported that a Second Life player had sold their painstakingly recreated digital version of Amsterdam for $50,000 through eBay. Similarly, Star Citizen has sold 4km-by-4km plots of land in its game (a microtransaction that some people think is shameful). Both of these pale in comparison to the massive purchase of Planet Calypso, but they are still noteworthy investments.

Apart from real estate, a Pink War Dog Skin from Dota 2 once sold for $38,000 — making it the most expensive skin ever sold at that time. It was later dethroned when a rare weapon from Counter-Strike: Global Offensive sold for $61,000, after being previously purchased for half that price. In other words, there are big bucks to be made when trading virtual real estate and collectibles.