If you want to see how the lines between the real and virtual worlds are becoming fainter, look no further than Sweden. There the game Entropia Universe has been granted a license to be a bank by the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority, according to the BBC.
According to game developers Mindark, the banking system in the game should be fully functional within 12 months, with 10 Project Entropia Dollars (PEDs) currently going for $1 US.
So why the need for a bank in the game? Well, unlike many other online games, it doesn’t charge a subscription, and the software download is free. However, items within the game cost money, and the costs of those pay for running Entropia Universe. The banking license will make those transactions easier. The game will offer bank accounts that let users accumulate interest, and even pay bills and deposit their paychecks.
"We will be in a position to offer real bank services to the inhabitants of our virtual universe," said Jan Welter Timkrans, head of Mindark, in a statement.
Bring the game into the banking system means financial regulators can check it, in case criminals attempt to use it for money laundering, and that each account would be backed to the tune of $60,000.
Entropia Universe currently has 800,000 registered players, with up to 100,000 playing regularly. The company states that in 2008 there were $420 million in transactions in the game.