The housing market is mental. Look at the horror stories that come from London, about beds in cupboards that cost £500 a month to rent - and they're not even Harry Potter themed. But people want... »
The housing market is mental. Look at the horror stories that come from London, about beds in cupboards that cost £500 a month to rent - and they're not even Harry Potter themed. But people want to be where the action is, so demand outstrips supply. Real estate in desirable locations: it's the most desirable thing. And Richard Garriott is banking on it.
He's asking for hundreds, even thousands of dollars from you in return for real estate in his new game Shroud of the Avatar. And it's working. Shroud of the Avatar has become the second highest-earning crowdfunded game behind Star Citizen, with a huge portion of its income - $6m of $8m so far - attributable to the game's online Add-On Store, which is dominated by all things real estate: deeds to land, houses themselves, bushes, shrubbery, decorations, statues. You can buy a $10 Wooden Outhouse, a $10 Ornate Tile Hot Tub (on offer, reduced from $15!), or a $150 Druid Town House that looks like a home carved out of a gnarled old tree. You can buy some cupid pants and wings in time for Valentine's Day. The Shroud of the Avatar Add-On Store is like an expensive medieval Sims catalogue.
And yet Shroud of the Avatar isn't even finished yet. It's in pre-alpha, available via Steam Early Access, and characters are still being periodically wiped while features are added. It won't be ready until sometime this summer. People are still happy to lay down money on property in a market that doesn't properly exist. I find that remarkable, and I wonder how on earth Richard Garriott decided a castle in his game was worth $12,000.Read more →