Despite the fact that RMT is strictly forbidden by the T's+C's for FFXI, a 20-year old gamer from the US decided to pursue the theft of his ingame items through his local Police Department, who promptly told him there was no crime to investigate.
Geoff Luurs went to his local Police in Minnesota and reported the crime, in which 75 million Gil worth of virtual items that belonged to his character were stolen. Although Square Enix prohibits real-money trade (RMT) between game items and real currency, the gil is worth about USD 4,000 in RMT terms.
Despite the obvious valuation of the items, the Police told Mr. Luurs that virtual items were not worth any money and thus no crime had taken place.
Joshua Fairfield, a law professor at Washington and Lee University disagreed with the decision of the Police in Minnesota and proceeded to give his opinion on the matter.
What happened here is somebody stole almost USD 4000 and got away cold. This is just a matter of zeros. The first time IBM loses USD 10 million, we’re going to see some police action. The argument that a magic sword isn’t real, that doesn’t make sense to me. You can ask the question, why would somebody buy that? But you can’t say it’s not worth real money.
Despite this, the Police still refuse to investigate the crime and the FFXI player will most probably never see his in-game items again.
This raises an interesting point in as much as the legallity surrounding RMT. If companies are making legitimate profits from the sale of virtual curreny in the MMO world, surely it should be the case that players can pursue their stolen items through the justice system?
This is a messy issue indeed.