Top 10 Most Expensive Gaming (Virtual) Items
For me, the very first game item that I sold away for real money was 17 years ago in 2003. I remembered it was my Dark Age of Camelot (DAOC) account that has a max level 50 Theurgist-class character with a decent PvP “realm level”. I posted my listing on eBay and used PayPal to transact with someone unknown across the world. It was a nail-biting experience as so many things can go wrong but eventually, I persuaded the guy to send me US$300 first, before I provided him the account details. Lucky him, I was trustworthy.
Since then, things have really blown up in the gaming space – where the top 10 most expensive virtual gaming items ever sold are worth a combined total of US$ 7,400,000. Yup, you got that right – US$ 7.4 million, for just 10 items (not even entire accounts). Here is the complete list:
Planet Calypso from Entropia (US$ 6,000,000) 
Club Neverdie from Entropia (US$ 635,000) 
Crystal Palace Space Station from Entropia (US$ 335,000) 
The Moon from Entropia (US$ 150,000) 
The Nest Egg from Entropia (US$ 69,000) 
Souvenir AWP Dragon Lore Sniper Skin from CounterStrike (US $61,000) 
Amsterdam from Second Life (US$ 50,000) 
Ethereal Flames Pink War Dog from Dota 2 (US $ 38,000) 
Treasure Island from Entropia (US $ 26,500) 
Sword from Age of Wulin (US$ 16,000) 
Curious to read more about what they are? Let’s start from the “cheapest” #10 and work our way up to #1....
#10 – Sword (US$ 16,000)
Game: Age of Wulin
Age of Wulin, or as it was originally named, Age of Wushu, is a free-to-play 3D massive multiplayer online (MMO) game based on martial arts, developed by Chinese company Snail. In 2011, to celebrate the launch of the game, Snail held an pre-launch online auction, where one player spent US $16,000 on a virtual sword, the only of its kind.
Yup, someone paid this amount for an item for a game which had not even launched yet.
#9 – Treasure Island (US$ 26,500)
Game: Entropia Universe
Planet Calypso is a Sci-Fi MMO game, which is part of the wider Entropia Universe. In Entropia, players can buy land that comes with all the rights to it, including the ability to tax other players from minerals mined from it, or loot from monsters killed there.
In 2004, Project Entropia hosted its first-ever virtual auction, and an enthusiast and virtual real estate developer dropped $26,500 on Treasure Island. He supposedly made back the investments in his second year! It was the first virtual auction of its kind, and it set the pace for the rest of the online industry.
Due to the nature of the game, you are going to see it dominates half of the list going forward.
#8 – Ethereal Flames Pink War Dog (US$ 38,000)
Game: DOTA 2
DOTA 2 is one of the most well known free-to-play MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena), having evolved and reburned from its roots as a custom game in Warcraft 3.
Always known for their hardcore fanbase, which has helped to collectively pushed up the prize pool for The International 2019 tournament to US$ 34.3 million, it was still a shock then to see a player shelled out US $38,000 in 2013 on a cosmetic item (its basically a courier with special effects, which fetches items for the player from the base to their location in-game).
This courier was 1 out of 5 known to exist in DOTA 2, especially prized for its random allocation of both the pink color and the Ethereal Flame effect (blaze of fire around its paws). However, its value seems to have dropped drastically since!
#7 – Amsterdam (US$ 50,000)
Game: Second Life
No, its not the real Amsterdam that got sold, but the virtual version of the city. Second Life is one of the most well-known online virtual world that prides itself for highly realistics enactment of real-life activities online, allows its users to create their own content and has a virtual currency that is exchangeable with real world currency. Some players have even set-up businesses within and earn money with them.
One of these businesses was the whole city of Amsterdam, modeled painstakingly after the real city, and auctioned off for US$50,000. Much like the iconic real world destination, this iconic virtual city was popular among players looking for ahem adult services.
#6 – Souvenir AWP Dragon Lore Sniper Skin (US$ 61,000)
Game: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Who doesn't' know about Counter-Strike? But not everyone may know that the game's skins (cosmetic graphics around your weapons) is actively sought after and traded online which spawned a host of CS:GO specialty sites.
This one-of-a-kind item features a fire-breathing dragon and was randomly gifted to a lucky player during a major eSports competition (ELEAGUE Boston Major 2018). Autographed by Tyler 'Skadoodle' Latham, it also bears the high-res logos from major CS:GO gaming teams, including Cloud 9, G2, and PGL.
Shortly after the competition, the skin was auctioned off a CS:GO auction site with a winning bid of US$61,000.
#5 – The Nest Egg (US$ 69,000)
Named "The Nest Egg" due to its origina and high price, this virtual embryo is the spawn of the all-powerful Atrox Queen. There's a long back-story provided in the link below, but the interesting part was that it laid dormant for almost 7 years before reaching its climax!
2006 - Egg was found/looted, and bought for US$10K
2010 - Egg was re-bought for US$69K and decoratively encased
2013 - Egg hatched releasing an insidious beast named Feffox
Entropia's players banded together for an exciting Feffox Mayhem Event, eventually defeating it. We just hoped the player who bought it enjoyed it as much as the rest did!
#4 – The Moon (US$ 150,000)
Sale of the moon estate was announced by MindArk (the game's developers) in 2013 as part of the Entropia Universe's 10th anniversary, where the idea is that future income generated will be shared between MindArk and the new owner.
A group of investors successfully bidded on it with no competition for a stunning US$150K, and the moon renamed to "Monria".
#3 – Crystal Palace Space Station (US$ 335,000)
Finally at the top 3 spot! Our 3rd most expensive gaming item bought is a Space Station orbiting Planet Calypso. One of the reason it could fetch this price is that it is a major travel/tourist hub in the game world.
Considering that the owner can tax every cash inflow the space station has, he may actually make a pretty solid profit out of this hefty investment.
#2 – Club Neverdie (US$ 635,000)
Sitting on an asteroid near Planet Calypso, this club was previously sold for $100K before being ultimately re-sold for 6x the value at $600K!
We understand that the owner (Jon Jacobs) re-mortgaged his own real-life house (!!!) to buy this virtual nightclub for $100K, operate it for several years, and raked in about $200K annually before the big flip in 2010.
He's even featured in Forbes!
#1 – Planet Calypso (US$ 6,000,000)
By now, you should not be surprised anymore - but our #1 champion is almost 10x the value of the #2 item - standing at US$6 million!
The entire Planet Calypso (homeworld of Entropia) was listed for sale in 2011, where SEE Virtual Worlds negotiated to buy it off MindArk Studios. Some may debate that this is a more of a commercial partner dealing, company-to-company, including studio staff acquisition and various rights/assets, but do note that this is still a transaction that mainly involves a virtual gaming item, just that it is for an entire virtual planet with almost 1 million registered accounts.
However, in June 2011, the partnership was abruptly terminated due to dispute. Although eventually settled in June 2012 via arbitration, it nonetheless gave us the most expensive gaming item ever recorded in history.
Back to 2020
With the trend moving towards Mobile Gaming and less hardcore (debatable!) games, we are less likely to see such big hits these days. However, it has become mainstream that gaming assets, even in virtual form, has high value due to an increased number of gamers nowadays (demand went up) and them understanding the effort/rarity to own such items (appreciation went up).
Together, let us create a better life for gamers everywhere!