Project Entropia’s clever marketing tricks

Last year the BBC reported that a gamer bought an island in the online world of Project Entropia for $26,500us. Three weeks ago a space station in Project Entropia reportedly sold for $100,000us. And while the press and online gaming gliterati marveled, one question sat unasked and unanswered. Was this all real?

A poster on the Battlefrontforum I frequent provided the answer. Some good Googling from him produced a link showing that Jon Jacobs, the purported purchaser of said space station, is in fact the US Spokesperson for Project Entropia. His role in working on Project Entropia includes:

US strategic relations as well as, business development, marketing and content acquisition

Apparently there were some questions raised on the Project Entropia forum about the whole deal, but very little sensible debate was entered in to, with fanboys shouting down most serious comment. At worst the fans concluded that the circumstances of the sale were a little dodgy.

More curiously, the item itself was sold when the servers were down (the items get sold only when the station is up usually) and one poster comments others were ‘disappointed’ not to have had a chance to bid due to the server status. What’s more, $100,000? A nicely round, eye-catching, newsworthy number if you ask me…

Furthermore, you would think a company so flush with rich customers wouldn’t have to scratch for cash, yet Mind Ark, the developers seem to be doing just that with the Google Ads they have at the bottom of every forum post. Frankly, I smell a rat. A cunning rat, but a fish non the less.

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41 Comments

  1. Logan Blackmoore

     /  November 10, 2005

    You should get your story straight and dig further before jumping to false conclusions. The Entropia system was online when the auction took place (I was in it browsing when I noticed that the space resort deed suddenly was purchased), so the claim that the system is offline is bogus.

    Also, Mindark has stated several times that they use players as spokespersons for Entropia around the world. I guess it has to do with the fact that they are small and don’t have the money to have company reps all around the globe. Jon Jacobs, with other prominent PE players was attending E3 for instance, speaking about Entropia. Nontheless, they are players and are not employed by MindArk.

    MindArk operates differently compared to other companies, as they have close ties to the community and sees it as a real part in the creation of Entropia. Therefore collaboration with key players is a smart thing to do, it strenghtens the community sense and it saves the company money.

    This is how I see it, anyway, being a lurking member of the Entropian community for a couple of years.

    Mr. Blackmoore

    Reply
  2. Hi, thanks for your feedback. However, there must be a disconnect somewhere because numerous people have stated the servers were down for them at the time.

    Also, I’ve worked in this industry, and frankly, I find it far more likely that a small company has a cunning marketing team than $100k gets dropped on a middle-aged game with a profile as low as PE’s. World of Warcraft, yes. Second Life, yeah, maybe PE, hmm, I don’t see it as genuine, sorry.

    Reply
  3. Anthony

     /  November 11, 2005

    *Quote* “Google Ads they have at the bottom of every forum post.”

    Please make note that MindArk|PE does NOT have an offical forum. The 2 most popular forums EntropiaForum and Entropia Pioneers are fan based and maintained by fans. The MindArk|PE representative, Marco Behrmann, is there to represent the company on both forums and inform the community of any updates or upcoming features. Therefore, it is not MindArk|PE’s forums. It is not their ads from Google. Get your facts straight and probably would help if you played the game.

    Reply
  4. I find it fascinating that they don’t have an official forum. Is there any other MMO where the company responsible for it doesn’t have a forum devoted to it?

    This is just the latest nonsense from MindArk.

    http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,53534,00.html

    If you really believe someone paid $100,000 of his own money to buy this space station, I’ve got a bridge in Azeroth for sale…

    Reply
  5. To be fair, that news from Mind Ark is from 2002. I’m sure they have resolved those issues now.

    Reply
  6. wild

     /  November 15, 2005

    I used to play this game and it is a total waste of your time and more importantly a waste of your money i wouldnt recomend this game to anyone even my worst enemy, it is true marco does post on the forums when he feels like it if you have a problem with this game e.g. you lose half your cash you will get a support message back if you get one at all saying somthing along the lines sry but our records show different our word is final BYE. not to many updates ago they even included some extra laws within there regulationg of play stating that if you speak out against them your account can be locked and you lose all your cash.
    dont take my word for it just search the forums for withdraw and you will find many a post of people waiting for up to a year to get there own cash back thats if and its a big IF they get it back at all ive spoke with people who have been told by mind arc that there money has been sent and its not there problem speak with bank just wondering why would your bank steal from you? doubtfull more likely it is MA keeping your cash. like i say dont take my word for it i could just be somone trying to get people not to play but not the case play it its free to get an account just goto auctions and watch whats going on after abit you will see auction fixing going on e.g. same player buying there own stuff with a second account. Seriously though i could go on about how BAD this game is till the cows come home it wont change the fact that i could be lying so try it yourself and all of us ex PE players will see you back here in about 3 months stating how bad it is. another point is they used to have a 100 ped withdraw fee about 10$ then one day they just changed it to somthing like 200 ped’s or 10% of total withdraw and said oh so sry but the 100 ped was a typo. see what i mean the list goes on and on. on a personal note to all you PE players still playing hoping things will change you keep sucking up the lies till they close the system and KEEP all your cash guess we will see some red faces then huh! p.s i wouldnt even try posting to many bad things that happen in game on any of the forums you will get banned or shouted down by so called players who realy work for MA.

    please give it a try though its funny seeing a company ripp so many people off and get away with it.

    Reply
    • Rondor

       /  February 12, 2010

      My view is this how is PE any different from any other game that requires money to play. Take for example WoW you pay 15 bucks a month do they give it back to you no do they offer even a chance to give it back to you no. So what is the big deal with there is a chance that you will loose your money. I say pay your 15 bucks a month enjoy the game for what its worth and if you make a profit so be it if not who cares you would have spent the money on another game anyway and oh btw you wouldnt have had the chance to get it back.

      Reply
  7. d belinfante

     /  November 21, 2005

    Playing a game is by definition a waste of time. Playing games ususally costs money, so by inference, they are a waste of money as well.
    If you play PE for money, you are a fool. PE is a great game, immersive, addictive. You can play it for free (I know many players who do) and even make a nominal buck, but most players invest money at some time or other. And I’ve yet to meet one who regretted it. I know many players who’ve been playing for a year and (much) longer.
    I wouldn’t know about the money withdrawal issues, they don’t concern me as I feel no need to take money out. Perhaps if I strike it big one day, which I hope to do, but I’m not holding my breath.

    It is a game. An MMORPG. You choose a character, and develop it over time. And this PE does very nicely. All the complaining and bitching I read here has zero to do with the game itself! PE should be judged by its gameplay, and though there are certainly MANY

    Reply
  8. Snakeye

     /  November 22, 2005

    Just to get some facts straight:
    PE servers were online, i was online at the time.
    MA does not have their own forum, they have an ingame support-system. No Ads are shown there.
    If i had the money, i would have given it serious thoughts to buy that space resort.
    Afterall, the Island that was sold for 26.500$ alrdy made its investment back after 11 months.
    I myself investet 110$ so far into the game, having much fun for almost 2 years now, and i could withdraw 300$ anytime i want at the moment.
    Of course i wont do that until i get to at least 1000$ :))
    If PE is your kind of game, come in, enjoy, otherwise dont.
    But dont write storys about a game u dont know based on false informations.
    Thats just bad journalism.

    Reply
  9. nick

     /  November 27, 2005

    Obviously MA was happy with the exposure from the sales. Who wouldn’t be? I don’t think it matters if they were made up.

    I think this game is a unique challenge and part of that challenge for me is that because you are conscious that everything costs money it makes it for me more interesting.

    It also allows me to play in a way that other games cannot. I might play for a certain time and have a break. When I come back to the game the same amount of money is there as I left it. With a pay per month game you lose that value if you don’t play. So in a sense PE is pay to play.

    The other thing worth noting is that for the pay per month games those users also invest outside the game on money and equipment through EBAY and the like. I think this throws the balance of the game. In the pay per month game you can slog away at make some $ or you can go and buy what seems like a huge amount of ‘in game’ cash for a small amount of money. There are many companies who do this. At least with PE everything has a relative value. If you can’t afford to lose it then don’t put it in.

    Reply
  10. chris

     /  December 7, 2005

    About PE being a game… the user agreement I signed stated speciifically that PE is a virtual universe and not a game (*they* said it’s not a game, I’m not just inferring that). They must have a reason for denying it ‘game’ status.

    Reply
  11. RaiTh

     /  December 9, 2005

    After playing 2 days free i liked the game enough to invest 35$ like I would any other game that I felt worthy of it. So far I have had 2 weeks of great gameplay and have teamed up with many other players for hours of fun. Give it a try and see for yourself, besides how many times have you payed $50 for a game you beat in 2 days and never played again *coughalflife2cough*.

    See for yourself.

    Reply
  12. jason

     /  December 17, 2005

    PE is a great game. I too would have bought the $100k space resort if I had the money to invest.

    Reply
  13. KapokWu

     /  December 20, 2005

    Well, the money scale is ratrher high in PE usually, you can get a single loot of 1000-3000 USD. Naturally the lowest end of loots is 5 PECs == 0.005 USD 🙂 . Also
    a lot of higher end personal equippement costs 3-10 kUSD, so in that sense the
    Treasure Isle is in the range of usual
    PE activity. 100k USD purchase of
    the space resort may have a payback time
    of 1.5-2 years, I would estimate.

    Reply
  14. Andrea

     /  January 14, 2006

    Unless your an actual player like myself you should not comment in Project Entropia. It is a virtual world based on real cash economy, which is tied with the U.S. Dollar. You have the ability to buy and SELL in this game, to ability to create, sell, trade, manufacture, etc.
    This game is a risk like any other thing in life.
    If I had enough money to have invested in the space station or in treasure island city.

    Reply
  15. Unabomber

     /  January 14, 2006

    PE rules, invested about $10.000 and withdrew about $15.000 first time and $3000 second time

    Reply
  16. Kaeya

     /  January 14, 2006

    This “article”, if it can be called that, reeks of second and third-hand information. If you’re going to pretend you’re writing some hard-hitting piece, you might want to actually investigate the story a bit deeper.

    As it stands now, this bit just makes you look like a fool to those of us who play P.E., because your information is incomplete and inaccurate, and misrepresents P.E. to those who don’t.

    Reply
  17. Angela

     /  January 26, 2006

    For anyone who actually managed to get through the MindArk employee posts lauding this pre-packaged pyramid scheme, I can simply say that I did try this out for 3 months, asked questions in their community forum, and was banned by the company due to their EULA. Of course, the banning happened after I stated that I was quitting and withdrawing my cash. This game is pure and utter crap. It will be shut down before long as either an illegal gambling operations soliciting minors, or as a pyramid scheme. Yet again, anything that sounds to good to be true, is, and there’s normally some jerkwad standing there waiting to rape you out of hard earned money….this is Project Entropia.

    Reply
  18. Angela

     /  January 27, 2006

    Pft, after playing the game for a bit….scam fits it perfectly. MindArk ought to be in business advising vegas how to keep people at the slotmachines. Pure casino…and the house, landowners and experienced players all want your money.

    Reply
  19. Kimmi

     /  February 2, 2006

    We will never know the truth about this sale, but I belewe this is as close to it, as we ever gonna get. Good article!

    Reply
  20. Jesse

     /  February 21, 2006

    I am a personal friend of Jon Jacobs and unlike this slanderous artical, i know for a fact that he is not employed by MindArk. All you losers that bash MindArk have tryed and failed at making a buck in PE are just angry because your not smart enough to play the market in a virtual economy, i happend to pay my way though college by taking part PE, and im pleased with it, and belive that this is the gaming of the future. To the writer of this artical: you should do more reseach as not to find yourself facing lawsuits

    Reply
  21. cmf

     /  February 22, 2006

    Trying to get my money back off Mindark for 6 months now. Withdrawal? The reality is you cannot realistically withdraw money from PE – they charge a 10% fee, make you wait an outrageous *120* days and then DO NOT RETURN YOUR MONEY. They continue to ignore all my requests aboout my withdrawal. BEWARE.

    Reply
    • Rondor

       /  February 12, 2010

      cmf have you ever tried to withdraw money from World of Warcraft or any other game that you put money into ?? Just checking I didnt think so give them time I was a old play and recently returned to the game and I was able to withdraw my money without any problems of course there is a fee to do this but ya know at least if your lucky enough to turn a profit in the game which im sorry its not likely since if everyone turned a profit the game would not exist then you can count yourself a lucky person to be able to have the ability to do so. Too too many people go into this game with dollar signs in there eyes expecting to be the next news article that was able to make a cool million dollars off virtual items. In reality its a game , enjoy it for a game, pay for it just like you do all the other MMOs out there and dont worry about profits, and money loss. You are spending it anyway even if its not with Mindark it will be with Sony or some other company.

      Reply
  22. Man… Some of you guys are really bashing mindark. I’v withdrawed, took about 11weeks (that say give it upto 3 months)
    PE is not s scam at all, and neverdie did buy the spacestation. The fact is, mindark set a buyout of 1million peds (100k us) and that buyout price was met. The next day he was offered 200k us for the spacestation, and it IS worth it.
    Dethifier, the guy that forked out 26k us for the island, made his money back in a year by selling houses and mining/hunting rites.

    I think a lot of people bashing the game here haven’t really played it for very long, or were any major part of the community.

    PE is not for everybody, because its real money. Some people will never be able to deal with that. But there is nothing else like pe – its a game, casino, subculture, artistic outlet, and investment opportunity.

    I know a lot of people are bitter at MindArk and Project entropia because they’ve lost money in it – as most people do. But I look at this as a ‘pay-per-play’ game – you can play for months, then stop for a year, and come back and you dont lose your items, avitar, skills, anything. Dont like to pay? dont! I know plenty of people that play without paying. Its a lot more work buy CAN be done.

    Whoever wrote this artical should try playing the game for a bit. Right now there is an Ancient improved mkII (one of the best rifles in the game) for sale and the bid is at 20k us – thats for a rifle, not land. There is money in this game, big money, and people are paying big money for big land.

    Reply
  23. the bizz

     /  May 28, 2007

    i have put money into this game (and it is a game). i read stuff about it,it sounded great. i played for a week or so, then i deposited & kept depositing. now i feel all that cash was a weast. they all said you can skill to uber( good player) then it gets cheaper. i spent 600 usd and i still got called a noob. so PE is the biggest scam i ever saw. this GAME in one word = bollox:P

    Reply
  24. Ulkari

     /  June 5, 2007

    Frankly people who complain about the game . as i have seen . are two types . Uncreative or just plain lazy .

    I deposited $30 into the game the first day i played . that same day . i dug up a lot of enmatter worth 153ped boom $15 still having 260ped from depositing that $30 in that same day well gee lets see .. 260+153 … hmm carry the one ….. thats 413ped . now .. i know im no math wiz . but . you know . a calculator doesn’t lie . so . with 113 ped bonus i started my way . i have yet to deposit another dime into the game . and am enjoying the hell out of it .

    so my advice to you all who cant seem to make money at this game is . try using your brains abit . actualy think abit and you might be amazed at what happens . I for one am well on my way to buying a place of my own in game .

    Reply
  25. Darthorious

     /  June 29, 2007

    It’s not about trying to make money in it as some people are commenting on that’s the easy part. I have not paid a single red scent for anything in the game and easily make money. It’s the part about trying to withdraw real world currency that seems to be screwy.

    Reply
  26. mrgh

     /  October 19, 2007

    A decent article(Some areas you should have got 100% clarified and if some of the replies are from MA employees just trying to run your article down you should post a follow up article with hard facts) and having played PE a while well all ive got to say to people who are putting out the fact they use PE to pay college well I believe thats utter nonsense – unless off course you are getting some help from MA?(Its funny how its people that seem to have some kind of ties to MA who are getting quite frankly articles written that will make me stay away from PE – theres too much bad PR for it all to be untrue as I see it and if it was 100% untrue im sure MA would sue , which they dont seem to be doing) Its like trying to say you can put 5 to 10 pounds in a gambling slot machine and pay your way to college. (Yeah right)

    Also what MA has done to sweat has ruined the game compltely , its the virtual equivalent to slave labour. I have pe for a while and way back I knew people that did okay but these days I here of no players who i actually speak to online comming back with returns, even if some of what MA does is legit , I dont feel that everything they do is.

    Fact is if you want to hunt to the same degree you would hunt in any game of that nature you could easly LOSE all your cash. You know what I see lots of hofs but I never see a run of the mill guy getting them , just some high high members on the MA unofficial forums, whos probably MAs pr payout for the month. Why cant MA make the odd newbie get a decent hof? I think its because they want to lure people that they can get big hofs later and all they ever do is throw away hundreds if not much more. Maybe PE used to work okay but its gotten really bad now adays and if you started playing 2 years ago and built your character skills in that time you cant really know how bad it is for new players now but it suits MA as new players need to risk lots of cash and maybe find out they hate the game where as before a small but managable amount was able to be made of the sweat, now newbies struggle to get it sold – when I played initially sweat was 5ped per 100 now it wouldnt surprise me if its down to .2 pec or something stupid like that. MA you have ruined the game.(But its okay for you to do so as you brandish the term virtual world about like the game is something new, no its nothing new, you lure people in (young people and all) to gamble and the actual game itself is comprised of sub standard graphics and gameplay. It offers nothing better than any other game of this type.(There are games with far superior quests and loot orientated systems where it is legal to sell your cash to other players but the company doesnt take money of players through a gambling like system)

    Reply
  27. mrgh

     /  October 19, 2007

    Ukari yeah something ive noticed , a high proportion of people seem to bag the odd 30ped frop here and there when they first start playing, I know so many like this then as they gradually put cash in and get addicted slowly the drops get less, this is my personal experiance from depositing and by the way I have made money last but if I was to play the game like I played other games I could burst 200ped every 2 hours , easy granted I would get some good drops but always your money ends up getting chipped smaller each time and sometimes in a big chunk, make the hofs across the spectrum ma as in have newer player getting the odd rare but proper hof and you will get more players, keep gettng bad articles written like this and all the other stuff and you are going to get a really bad rep, actually start seeing players who just want to enjoy the gam,e in game and dont want to draw out money but just see the game , can some of the time. Fact is if the truth be told if it wasnt for the alure of the addiction caused by gambling you would only have a fraction of people playing this game. (Brandishing the word virtual about like that justifys everything and a sub standard engine)

    Reply
  28. mrgh

     /  October 19, 2007

    JUst to finally say before some zealot lambasts me and says you shouldnt hunt well I have traded as well , and midforce prices are gimped as well because of sweat, also trading is the only viable way to make money and bear in mind if you go this route EVEYONES got an angle, no one is sincere in game they cant afford to be and you have people standing around all day who have had contacts since the game came out who you will struggle to compete with – you also have grps of people intentionally doing stuff to price fix sweat , one buys shockingly low and the other buys just terribly low , so people run to sell there wares cheap only to find the to buyers change roles later. The only way yu will make and set yourself up imo trading initially is to sell very high to some unwitting newbies and sorry I just dont like treating people in this way but this is the kind of person that inhabbits PE that Ive found lately

    Reply
  29. Wowsers

     /  November 19, 2007

    Lmao reading these comments. I imagine some of you ppl thought you could just start playing and looting mobs and you were gonna make all this money.

    You have to be enterprising if you wanna make money, just like real life. You have to come up with ideas or provide unique services. There are many ppl who make monthly deposits and they are sustaining the economy. You can offer to be bait for hunters and they will share thier loots with you. You can be a trader, and make money off the price fluctuations of different resources. You can take part in the many contests that take part in PE. You can join a society and they may offer to start you off with a low end gun and some ammo etc… I could list many ways to make money in this game.

    People should be embracing the idea of this game because it’s about time MMORPG’s started to link thier economies to the real world. This creates a new element to gaming and will probably pave the way for some interesting ways to make money in the future.

    Half of your these comments are ” wahwah I played for a week and I’m not a millionaire yet”… come on ppl are you really that ignorant?

    Reply
  30. I’ve been a player of Entropia universe for over a year now, after spending a little over 2 thousand pounds over the full course of my online experience on EU, I have gained a sufficient amount of skills to be able to make money to play without depositing. Over the year I have met and spoke to serveral well accomplished and successful players eg Jon Neverdie Jacobs, he started off like most people playing the game and depositing cash to hone up skills became successful and got asked to become a spokesperson for EU for exhibitions etc. There isnt just those examples now there are hundeds of players with property making a mint from time and patience (mostly since EU began) Some even own a series of shops which they stock themselves, 1 weeks playing isn’t long enough to make any serious cash. Would you get a multimillion pound/dallar company up and running in the real world in a week? The game works on a looting system a bit like a game of chance (lottery) if you are lucky as some players are (uber players – high skilled players) can make thousands per day from Mind Ark and other Eu players All It Takes Is Patience and over time a few dollars turns into a few hundred dollars. YOU HAVE TO SPEND SOME TIME IN THE UNIVERSE BEFORE COMMENTING ABOUT IT.

    Reply
  31. tribalart

     /  July 4, 2008

    and how can you make money in a game full of traders where all markup are really low and cant even payback the cost of what its requier to get stuff.

    some common stuff like wool/hide/claw from monster; or oil,stone etc.
    i cant think its true you can play without paying.SWEAT?? what a joke.
    1k sweat for 5ped…

    so even if you make 10k sweat, =50 ped. your chance to win any peds with this ammount is almost equal to zero.

    and really i hope to see the day where entropia will be full of trader and
    no more noob dogs to gather sweat for a ridiculous ammount of ped.
    or selling stuff in low quantity for inexistant markup.

    you spend all day to rob newbie money,because they have no choice.
    economy is a joke.
    so in my opinnion only old players with alot of stats can make money,and i have read alot about how was entropia before..maybe not all is true,but its look its was really more easy and less expensive than now to get equipement,stats ,house etc…

    and all players who say its s a nice universe and with a brain you can make money. its NOT true.if you make money its only because someone else lose it.and its you and only you who screwed this game because you trying to make money only from other players, buying all with a inexistant markup and selling all weapons/tools etc with a big markup.

    its how the world is…. yes but if we cant really change the world we dont need to play entropia for you.
    and one day,i hope everyone stop paying for you.

    yea its really a pyramidal system.

    and for the end, when i have start playing, 2 global minning the first day with 0 minning skill (110 +40 peds).and ~ 2000 rifle point later +60$ ,
    0 global, not even a 40 ped global… 1 time a moslik for 38 peds.

    so i just wonder how many cash have pay people,
    or when they have start before saying :
    “you can play without paying”

    try to make a new account and dont pay if you can play without pay.

    Reply
  32. FlatBroke

     /  January 28, 2009

    the clue is in the name entropia = into rape

    Reply
  33. Nicole Tony Dantrag

     /  April 23, 2009

    I have played PE and Latter EU for a very long time 5 to 6 years (I lost count).
    I can’t lie I made a lot of money with the service because I invested mostly in very rare items. So far I have took out 38,000 dollars (USD) and MA has deposited that into my bank account , I still have another 50,000 dollars in EU not counting skills ( Mod fap, Eon shadow set).

    I have to admit the profits came mostly from other players wanting to buy my rear items, and for the masses its hard to break even let alone profit. By the way Jon and Tina where really good friends and I used to be in their society “Warrants” a very long time ago. I remember when Jon sold all his items to try to buy Treasure Island and lost the bid at the last second to Deathifer.

    I can’t lie I am currently in the process of selling out my other items but I have to say that EU/ PE has been really good to me for the years I have been playing. I have invested maybe 10,000 to 15,000 dollars in the early years and have already took out 38,000 and still have 50,000 worth to sell.

    Reply
  1. Top 10 Revenue Models for Free To Play Games « Free To Play
  2. old articles – interesting reading. « Entropia-Trash: Entropia Universe's Gossip Center

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