I’ve written before about estate planning and charitable giving with video games and virtual worlds. Here’s another example of how valuable digital property can be—including virtual items in video games.
In December 2011, the developers of the video game Age of Wulin held an auction to sell unique virtual items to use in the video game. One man paid $16,000 for a virtual sword to use in the video game. Other unique virtual items to use in the video game sold for $2,500 and $1,600 in the auction.
These values for virtual items are a bit surprising because this video game has not even been released to the public yet. The developers completed the first phase of closed beta testing in 2011, and they plan to release the game to the public sometime in 2012.
As I’ve mentioned before, it is important for video game and virtual world players to plan ahead and incorporate their digital property into their real–world estate plan. Beyond just writing down the account name and password for the fiduciaries to access the account, the fiduciaries and family members need to know if there are monthly fees to keep the video game or virtual world account open (so the valuable video game character and its virtual property and currency are not deleted!), what the approximate real-world value may be, and either how to transfer it or where to sell it. A little time spent planning ahead can make the administration much more efficient when the video game or virtual world player becomes incapacitated or dies.