Unreal estate: man flips virtual nightclub for $500k

Paul Raven @ 19-11-2010

The metaverse doesn’t make the news as often as it did a few years back, but don’t assume that means the glow is off for real profits from virtual worlds: Jon “Neverdie” Jacobs just made a cool half-million bucks on selling an asteroid-cum-nightclub in the Entropia Universe MMO.

Until recently, Neverdie was the owner of one of the hottest virtual properties in Entropia, Club Neverdie, situated on a virtual asteroid around Entropia’s first planet, Planet Calypso. Jacobs bought the virtual asteroid back in 2005 for $100,000, after taking out a mortgage on his real-life house.

[…]

Taking out a hundred grand to buy virtual property may have seemed like poor business sense, but Jacobs had a plan. He turned Club Neverdie into a must-visit destination, one that includes more than a dozen bio-domes, a night club, stadium and a mall, where other players flocked to spend real cash on virtual goods and services. Jacobs was making around $200,000 in annual revenue, enough to comfortably support him and his family. Some might wonder why Jacobs didn’t instead start a real-life business like most others. Jacobs’ answer, “games made sense.” Club Neverdie was a “turnkey business” for him — besides dropping in from time to time to check on the property, the business largely ran itself and had no other employees besides himself.

Flipping property has long been an appealingly easy business model for those with enough capital to spare… but not so much in meatspace these days. I think we’ve yet to see the first full-scale metaverse property gold-rush, but once we have, the first metaverse bubble-burst won’t be far behind; in the meantime, a smart chancer can still make their mark on that particular and limitless frontier.

Incidentally, a little further down this piece there’s an interesting and (to me) unexpected junction to another story, namely the J K Rowling plagiarism lawsuit, which gets weirder and weirder the deeper you look into it:

Jacobs wasn’t always a virtual celebrity, but even his past plays out like something out of a movie. His was born to a Miss United Kingdom and Adrian Jacobs, a prototypical Bond villain of sorts. An infamous ’60s British financier nicknamed “Mr. X,” the senior Jacobs was banned from the London Stock Market in the ’80s after a string of shady deals, and has been reportedly quoted as saying, “I’ll be back again, richer than ever!” You can almost hear the super-villain laughter. Adrian Jacobs died in 1997, but in 2009, his estate filed a lawsuit against J.K. Rowling, claiming the author of the Harry Potter series had copied substantial parts of Jacobs’ 1987 children’s book, Willy the Wizard.

Call me cynical, but I’m now even more convinced that the Willy The Wizard suit is an opportunist scam…

[This story via MetaFilter, to whom I’d point out that while I’ve blatantly stolen their headline pun, I did so in the belief that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. That, and the knowledge that I couldn’t think up a better one at short notice. ]

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One Response to “Unreal estate: man flips virtual nightclub for $500k”

  1. Brian Carnell says:

    Ugh. There almost predictable yearly announcements of this or that property in Entropia selling for 6 figures and they’re all basically bullshit. Jacobs is frequently the buyer, with few news stories bothering to mention that he was an employee of MindArk during at least some of those highly touted purchases (he was doing PR and business dev for MindArk by his own admission when he initially purchased the property in question here).

    As the Terra Nova blog put it back then, “So it turns out that the “sale” of Space Station “Neverdie” was from MindArk to, um, one of their marketing and PR people. Wow, no wonder why the news sources bought that one at face value. No reasonable reporter could have doubts about the validity of that transaction.”

    It is possible I guess that a MMO that is deeply in debt really has a speculative virtual property bubble. It is more likely, however, that this is yet another marketing gimmick by MindArk designed to lure the gullible into thinking there is tons of money to be made in Entropia Universe and thereby driving more fools to part with their money.