Editor's Note: This blog originally implied that Wowhead trafficked in the secondary market for World of Warcraft gold. But the company says it does not.
There's a lot of buzz in the World of Warcraft fan site universe this morning, with reports and rumors flying about fan sites being sold, about $1 million sale prices and even scuttlebutt about the uber company in the business of selling WoW gold, IGE, having been sold.
Another blog, meanwhile, claims that, in fact, Wowhead was purchased by IGE's ex-parent Affinity Media.
Getting away for a second from the complexities of what it all means in the WoW, that's a pretty impressive number if it's true.
Whether or not Wowhead is involved in the WoW gold business--the company says it's not--it's huge business, and it's changing with the sale of IGE, and other recent developments. I don't know any exact numbers--nor does anyone else since the buying and selling of WoW virtual assets, and those of most online games, is prohibited by the games' publishers. But by some estimates, the so-called secondary market for these virtual assets (of all online games) is approaching $1 billion a year.
And if Wowhead doesn't traffic in gold as it claims, then $1 million for a fan site is a lot of money.
More interesting, perhaps, is the fact that IGE has been sold.
When I was at the Virtual Goods Summit at Stanford yesterday, I had a talk with Brock Pierce, IGE's founder, and he didn't say anything about it. It's true, he was wearing a badge from "Affinity Media," and admittedly, I am not entirely up to speed on the latest news in this industry, but rather than suggesting IGE had been sold and Affinity was getting out of the secondary market business, he hinted he wanted to get out.
This is all very interesting, and confusing. And as I hear more, dear readers, so will you.