Based in Goteborg, First Planet, developer and publisher of Planet Calypso, "the oldest planet in the "Massively Multiplayer Online Game Entropia Universe," will begin the process of auctioning off its Medusa's Head islands today.
The auction "will allow one player to acquire the deed to the largest virtual property ever sold and potentially one of the most lucrative in existence," the company says. Anyone with money deposited in a Planet Calypso account (which funds the virtual currency used to buy places and things in the fantasy realm) can bid.
This isn't the first time, nor will it likely be the last, that large sums of cash will invest in the bits and bytes of an online world.
Last month, a property in the online game Entropia Universe, bought for $100,000 in 2005, was resold for what amounts to $635,000 in real dollars. It's possibly the single largest purchase of a piece of virtual property ever, and went into the Guinness World Records as the most valuable virtual item.
Self-described "virtual world pioneer" and online gaming celebrity Jon "Neverdie" Jacobs initially bought the valuable asteroid by remortgaging his (real-world) home.
A section of that "spaceport," which houses retail shops, a nightclub and a stadium, has since sold for $335,000.
The Medusa's Head islands are described as eight different revenue-generating land areas. The property will also come with "two unique creatures, which will be of interest to hunters from around the planet." A teleportation system is included in the price.
"This is the largest and most accessible land we have ever offered," says Frank Campbell, marketing director for First Planet.
He expects that "two types of very different people" are likely to take part in the auction.