RCE stands for "real cash economy", as applied to the
world of MMORPG computer games. MMORPG stands for "massively
multiplayer online role-playing game", which is a genre of
computer game which is immensely popular, and lucrative to developers
such as Sony and Blizzard Entertainment.
The majority of MMORPG platforms tend to generate their income
on a pay per month subscription. The subscription fee is usually
within the region of fifteen dollars per month. However, there are
notable exceptions, with many MMORPG platforms charging an upfront
fee or being free to play.
The MMORPG platforms based on a real cash economy are few and far
between, there is only two successful examples, the Entropia Universe
developed by Mindark, and Second Life, which is developed by Linden
The Entropia Universe was the first RCE game, which was originally
called Project Entropia. The game was and is developed in Sweden,
specifically Gothenburg, and began being tested in 2002, and was
released on January 30, 2003.
The ingame currency is tied to the US dollar, 1 USD is the equivalent
to 10 PED (Project Entropia Dollars). This exchange rate has never
changed in the game's history. A player will deposit via a number
of means (credit card, bank deposit, ukash) and the game will convert
the USD into PED. A player can then withdraw PED, and receive USD
(via his bank account) at a later date.
Items and real estate within the Entropia Universe has exchanged
hands for over $20,000. Some players within the Universe have managed
to make a living from the game. Any profit made within the Entropia
Universe is generally at the expense of another player. Mindark,
the games developer, generates income from items decaying, therefore,
a player will have to recoup this decay fee from other players to
enable them to profit.