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Browser MMO DarkOrbit makes €2 million from €1000 virtual item

You can say that again.

In a free browser-based spaceship MMO, how many people would pay €1000 for a single item?

In the case of DarkOrbit, 2000 people in four days - for a total of €2 million.

DarkOrbit creator Bigpoint confirmed the numbers to Gamesbrief. The numbers were calculated as of 16th November.

The €1000 DarkOrbit item was the 10th Drone, the Zues Drone. This is the top ranked combat drone - things that support your spaceship in battle. You need all nine previous drones and the blueprints for the 10th Drone.

Bigpoint's business revolves around selling virtual goods in free MMOs. It's the free-to-play, micro-transaction model. This year, Bigpoint expects to make €200 million from a registered player base of 215 million people, Gamesbrief reported.

Startlingly, 97 per cent of people playing Bigpoint games apparently don't pay anything on a month by month basis. So when they do, it needs to count.

This phenomenon is referred to as whaling, where one catch reaps big rewards. Trion's Scott Hartsman talked to Eurogamer about it when we quizzed him about MMO Rift turning free-to-play.

Bigpoint's most notable MMO is Battlestar Galactica Online - a product of considerable funding. Browser games have come a long way. Go take a look, if you have a spare 10 minutes.

Battlestar Galactica Online - a new generation of browser MMOs.