No Griefing: Virtual Currency Market Sparter Shuts Down

Looks like you’re going to have to earn your phat lootz the hard way. Sparter, an online marketplace for virtual game currencies that launched last year, has effectively shut down. The company has issued a notification stating that no further purchases can be carried out, though transactions currently in progress will be fulfilled.

The site, which is backed by Bessemer Venture Partners, allowed gamers to sell gold to other players for real-world money in games including World of Warcraft, Eve, and Everquest. This kind of trading has been commonplace on the internet since the emergence of major massively multiplayer games, but it has always been controversial – eBay banned it in early 2007. Such transactions are against the Terms of Service for nearly every online game, and many players believe that they are dishonest and can ruin a game’s economy.

So what led to the shutdown? The site almost certainly folded to pressure from game developers, though it may have also had a hard time gaining traction in a space with countless vendors of virtual gold. The site does still leave some wiggle room for its rebirth in the future, explaining:

“Going forward, we believe the best course for our business is to focus solely on providing marketplaces with the full support of game developers and publishers. ”

For now we’ll be adding Sparter to the Deadpool. Gamers still looking to take the easy way out can head over to competitors like IGE.