A Chinese insurance firm now offers coverage for lost, stolen, or otherwise destroyed virtual goods.
If your house has ever been ransacked by a horde of goblins, you know how crucial it is to have an insurance policy in place to cover the damages. The same goes for the virtual world, where the threat of goblin attack is easily twice that of our meatspace reality.
Enter: Sunshine Insurance Group Corporation. The Chinese insurance firm has teamed with online game operator Gamebar to offer the world's first virtual property insurance.
Sounds crazy, right? Yet according to China Daily, the venture has sound capitalist motivations:
The two companies agreed to create the virtual property insurance amid an increasing number of disputes between online game operators and their customers, often related to the loss or theft of players' "virtual property" such as "land" and "currency."
A Sunshine Insurance spokesman said the insurance will help to reduce operating risks for online gaming companies, as the companies which purchase the insurance will be covered to compensate customers in the event of lost or stolen property.
The spokesman said that the insurance agreement is also a landmark achievement for the insurance industry, as it marks the industry's first foray into the online gaming sector.
Seems like a win-win situation for everyone involved right? Players get compensation if their +3 Sword of Gastrointestinal Distress disappears, and online gaming firms save tons of cash that would otherwise be earmarked for whichever community liaison gets tasked with sorting out virtual property disputes.
Of course, this concept does raise several crucial questions. First, how does the insurance firm determine what it will and will not cover? Are weapons degraded by use in normal gameplay covered? What about items removed by the gaming operators due to hacking or other illicit acquisition methods?
Second, how do you create premiums for things that don't actually exist? How much is a faux horse worth? Am I going to have to drop $300 a month to protect my fictional home from fictional wizards?
And of course, there's the final, most important question: At what point did we all start living inside a William Gibson novel?
Source: China Daily