ByRob Harris, writer at
Sometimes I play video games.
Rob Harris

Short of burning it, money doesn't just disappear into thin air. So you can imagine the shock experienced by EVE Online player Ozuwara Ozuwara when $1,500 of his hard earned cash unexpectedly vanished into space!

EVE Online is a massively multiplayer role playing game which plays host to over half a million players that explore its virtual intergalactic world, sometimes working together, but this time not.

High Stakes Gambling

Eve Online
Eve Online

It's a terrifying game. Not in the traditional horror-related sense; there are no jump scares or flesh-eating monsters. What there is, is real money - and lots of it.

Unlike almost any other game, the space simulator features a fully functioning economy, with regular trade of both in-game currency and real money taking place between players. As such, playing EVE is sometimes as risky a gambling at a high stakes table in Vegas, and this player just lost big.

I've Made a Huge Mistake

Pilot Ozuwara Ozuwara recently departed a popular EVE trading hub, taking with him one of the most valuable commodities in the game: PLEX.

PLEX (Pilot License Extension) is basically what players use to pay for their subscription to the game, granting 30 days of access. It must be bought from the developers directly and thus has real monetary value. Why this player was trying to transport such valuable cargo in such huge quantity, I don't know...but he quickly paid for it!

It wasn't long before a fiendish rival pilot, Diorden, spotted the vulnerable vessel and ruthlessly shot it out of the sky, burning up $1,500 worth of PLEX with the vaporized ship! That's right, the attacking player didn't even get to steal the money, it just vanished! Gutted.

Some people just want to watch the world burn, I guess.

$1,500? How About $300,000!

This isn't the first time something like this has happened in the often brutal, yet endlessly fascinating, multiplayer game. In January 2014 a legendary virtual conflict took place, with damage estimates reaching hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The battle lasted 21 hours and focused mostly around EVE's most powerful and expensive class of spaceship: the mighty 'Titan'. Each Titan costs between $3,000 and $3,500 a piece - in REAL money. By the time a ceasefire had finally been called, a whopping 75 of them had been destroyed!

To give you an idea of the sheer size of the epic battle, take a look at the screenshot below. Every orange and red dot you see is a player-controlled ship or drone participating in the fight:

Estimates of the total losses incurred by players during the battle range from $300,000 to $500,000. Ouch, I never knew virtual warfare could be so expensive!

I think I'll stick to the blackjack tables, thank you very much.


Is it fair to lose this kind of money playing a video game?


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