Virtual world developer RedBedlam has warned MMO developers to come to terms with gold farming and real-money trading in their games and applications, since "it's going to happen whether you like it or not".
"If you don't build that into your system then you're not going to be able to compete with the gold farmers and that will ruin your in-game economy, which will in turn ruin your game", said founder Kerry Fraser-Robinson, speaking to GamesIndustry.biz.
"At the very least having the recognition that virtual economics is a discipline and is a very important integral part to being a virtual world" is important, he continued.
Fraser-Robinson held up CCP's space MMO EVE Online as an example of a game that, while not condoning or integrating gold trading, had recognised the importance of a real-world economy and built a system robust enough to withstand real-money transactions.
"Take EVE Online for example, they didn't allow for in game transactions but they did design a very robust economy and they did design that game knowing it's a problem, and designed it with an awareness of virtual economic conditions," he said.
"Trying to stop [gold farming] happening is literally like telling the tide not to come in - you will fail," Fraser-Robinson warned.
As well as developing technology and tools for virtual worlds, RedBedlam operates its own MMO game, Roma Victor, based in Roman Britain. It enjoys 10,000 subscriber accounts despite having received a review score of 8 per cent from UK mag PC Zone.