The global market for virtual goods is already
worth billions of dollars annually
. In fact, several small countries around the world have smaller GDPs than the total worth of the virtual economy. But there are very few laws to regulate virtual commerce in its infancy. At this stage, it is only fair to expect the courts and lawmakers to only tackle issues related to virtual trade as and when they appear before them.
One such question came up for consideration before South Korea's apex court during a recent case where two gamers had been accused of illegally profiting by trading in-game currency for real cash, a practice popularly known as gold farming. The court not only acquitted them but also ruled that in-game or virtual currency is to be treated on par with real currency.
Though this is being hailed as a landmark ruling that is going to impact future laws elsewhere, it has only divided the world further on the legality of gold farming. South Korea's supreme court has taken a stance completely opposite to that of the Chinese government, which banned the practice of trading virtual currencies – the ban doesn't cover virtual goods - for real ones last year.