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October 15, 2003

The Virtual Market Report

I continue observing the EVE Online and Star Wars Galaxies marketplaces on Ebay. The former is the easier task. It's a very active, but smaller market, that pulls in a broad mix of currency ("isk") trading, account trading, and item trading. In contrast, the SWG market is mostly currency ("credit") trading. I use the term trading loosely, because I see a lot of listing and not a lot of buying as a ratio of those listings. I think I will upgrade my tools from Ebay's listings to something more sophisticated. With the high numbers of Buy Now offerings, it's hard to tell when something sells. I am not willing to put every offering on my watch list, so I only random sample. A lot could be slipping through the rather large cracks.

I've had a lot better success in selling isk than credits. I've listed about 7 lots of credits at aggressive prices, and sold one lot. In contrast, I haven't had a single isk lot fail to sell in over a month. It's a lot harder to buy isk at low prices for resale though. This probably shows the EVE market is operating a lot more efficiently than the SWG market. It's easy to buy SWG credits at prices lower than the average listing. I bought one lot of 4.5 million, as I mentioned below, almost accidentally, for less than half the listed prices on other lots that size. I turned around some of that in a private, in game, placement. And I sold one pathetic lot of 100,000 at a decent price (to both parties), and that's it. None of my tricks learned with selling isk seem to work.

I did finally manage to make an isk purchase of 40 million. Actually, I won an auction of 10 million, then I added on another 30 million in a separate negotiation with the seller. The price on that should allow me a comfortable 50% profit after fees if I continue selling steadily in my regular units and at these prices.

The EVE market in isk has stabilized. Isk trades pretty solidly in the $2 to $3 range, mostly the lower end in large lots of 50 million or more, and towards the high end for small lots. That's the spread I seek to work.

One event of note, today 1 billion isk sold for $1,372.56. (I missed a chance for some margin there, but it's more than my existing capital!) The seller said he's leaving the game, and that is not a huge amount of isk for EVE (the blueprints for battleships cost a bit more than that), but it's the largest single sale I've seen. He sold a second lot of 238 million for $351.51 also. There's another lot of 500 million isk offered by another seller for a minimum bid of $750. I expect it will sell, but a minimum bid that high is a poor strategy.

I did manage to sell some items in SWG. That turned out to be a time limited event as the items I was selling were part of Act I, it turned out. They are still useful, but they no longer "drop" in game, so my market there vanished. The few sets I still hold I expect to move. I'm trying to decide whether to boost my ask price, but I don't think I will. The only additional value, it turns out after some testing, would be to a pure collector, and I haven't stumbled over any. They hold their value as an easy way to leap into PvP combat without grinding faction missions.

I've been watching for non-credit sales in SWG. There are the normal bulk listings of "exploit" and "cheat" and "macro" guides. Aside from that there hasn't been much. I did see one interesting offering, on which I dropped a bid, for a large amount of resources. The seller advertised it as a bootstrap for a crafter who didn't want to deal with gathering or buying (not a simple task either) enough "grind" resources to work up crafting skill. That was a concept that had occurred to me and it appeared the seller got a fair price (in my estimation) for the eventual sale. That said, it's real work lining up those resources. Once my architect reaches master I may consider something of the sort.

Speaking of which, today I found a listing for a medium generic house, another thought that had occurred to me. Again the pricing looks pretty fair, and it's down in the impulse buy range. But it's down to single digits in hours and no bids, so not sure it's going to sell. I've got it on my watch list.

I suspect player association buildings and fusion generators will sell. Topnotch weapons and armor should also. So far I haven't seen much though. It's very hard to filter out all the credit offerings to find the rest. Now that I'm getting better at it though, I am seeing some armor offerings. They just are very lost in all the credit listing spam. After filtering out "cred," "creds," "credits," and "credit" I still have 8 pages, most of which is credit listings that don't use those combinations. Adding "cr" to that list dropped it to 7 pages, 349 items. At least half of what's left is credit listings, another 10% is macro/exploit/cheat guide spam. Probably 15% or more is account or game box sales. That doesn't leave much.

I do see a rifle, some armor, the house I mentioned and two others, a couple heavy mineral harvesters, scattered across ALL servers. I also see some resource listings, some grind materials and some rare materials. They are mostly on Ahazi server and probably all the same seller. Ah! There's a PA hall (a player association building) for $20, $15 minimum bid, on Flurry. That's a fair price. In fact, it's probably low.

And that's it. That may be an average of two listings for items per server. A full search on Star Wars Galaxies yields a total of 2829 items, so it's down near 1% of the total. To create some persepctive, there are 216 Eve items. When I exclude isk items, I'm left with 146 mostly non-isk items. Around half of the total listings for EVE are items, not currency. (The rest are accounts, macro guides, etc.)

Most of the EVE isk listings will sell. I doubt 10% of the SWG ones do, I wouldn't be shocked to learn that 1% do. There's a huge potential market in SWG items, but clearly the sellers and buyers haven't figured it out yet. It may be a maturity factor; players just don't yet know well enough what is rare or valuable, and how to valuate them in real money.

I suspect the inflated (in size) credit market is due to exploits, however. It doesn't make sense to me, based on my own play and observing that of others, that there is this much free currency available. It was, or is, being minted. I have no proof of that, only my observations of the typical earn rate and the typical bank balance of most players with whom I come into contact. The established players are not poor, but they don't all have tens of millions sitting around.

That being the case, I'm going to drop out of trying to sell credits on Ebay. I might do a little private placement, if opportunity appears, but I will look to other possibilities.

I haven't put this month's trading into the spreadsheet yet, but my cash in hand sits at $500. And I have a few million SWG credits in hand, a few disk sets save for sale, and 35 million isk. I spent a bit of my earnings on the third SWG account, and on the purchase of 4.5 million SWG credits and 40 million EVE isk all this month. I'm not paying my game fees from my Paypal account, so those aren't reflected, but they're paid off for this month easily.

Posted by dan at October 15, 2003 02:25 PM | TrackBack


Im interested in bying some creds.
Pls email me.


Posted by: Seiby at November 8, 2003 08:22 AM

Hi there,

Im also interested in buying credits.

Email me with your prices plz.


Posted by: VRerev at November 11, 2003 01:13 AM

Im interested in SWG creds and/or holos for lowca server.
My handles are:Havox

Posted by: Robert at November 30, 2003 12:03 AM

if you have any holo's let me know. Looking for a god price not the outrageous prices on ebay. I can do trade or paypal if it is resonable.

Posted by: Arck at December 17, 2003 04:58 PM

WTB 200mil isk (eve online:second gen) till the new eula comes out(17june)! plz mail me if u have any to sell and we will agree in payment options and price per isk:D

Posted by: nameless at June 4, 2004 09:36 AM
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