In the past we've seen excitable fans of massively-multiplayer games spend hundreds of pounds/dollars/euro on characters, items and other trinkets in order to have more fun in their preferred online world. But if you thought that stuff was daft, just wait until you hear how much one chap is set to pay for a 25 square-kilometre plot of land in MMORPG Project Entropia.
The idea behind PE was to have an economy based on real money, where items and more are bought and sold for real cash amounts - in the game, $1 is worth 10 PED. In a recent auction, one Zachurm "Deathifier" Emegen spent 265,000 PED acquiring a unique Treasure Island. That's $26,500 - the equivalent of 19,825 or £13,700 at today's exchange rates - and quite possibly the most anyone's ever spent on an intangible in-game object, however large and unique.
In exchange for his cash, Zachurm not only owns the island, but he can now tax people who choose to live there or even visit, and in addition to that will be able to sell up to 60 lots of land at a rate of five per month over the course of a year. According to Project Entropia's overlords, "These 60 lots alone have an estimated market value of 300,000 PED," or $30,000.
Apart from a big asking price, Treasure Island features a unique castle structure at its heart, beaches "ripe for developing beachfront property", an old volcano reportedly stocked with fierce creatures, an outback overrun with mutants, and the potential for decent returns on mining thanks to a high concentration of robotic miners guarded by assault robots. All the things we'd be looking for, naturally.
You can read more about Zachurm's purchase on the Project Entropia website here.