Aside from more security, Live Gamer offers access both through the in-game EverQuest II client and through the web. At the time, while they would like to extend to other platforms like mobile, they have no particular plans in that area.
Live Gamer will also handle all customer support related to their service.
"This will be a significant market and a growing market worldwide," said Schneider. "The question is how do you make a safe and significant market for players and how do you bring them back on the grid."
Both companies touted the platform's multi-game and multi-developer goals as one of Live Gamer's biggest strengths.
"We don't gold farm, we don't buy from gold farmers," said Schneider, "in fact when we see that kind of illicit activity, we shut it down."
That policy is the key for Smedley.
"If you have a service that operates across multiple games, in the end the farmers will have their games turned off and off and off," said Smedley. At this time, EverQuest II is the only game that Live Gamer has announced, but their website boasts partnerships with Funcom, GoPets, 10Tacle Studios, Acclaim and Ping0, who - in addition to SOE - represent between them well over 20 existing and upcoming MMOs. They also hinted at more announcements to come.
Conceivably, if this service were implemented in even a fraction of those games, a gold farmer who is caught in a Funcom title could find himself banned from EverQuest II and vice versa. For over a decade, MMO developers have fought against the tide of third-party companies in their games, and while there has been some progress - Blizzard recently won a lawsuit against Peons4Hire - there has never been a solution that allows them to cooperate in defense of their own virtual property.
"We've been banning quietly for many years now," said Smedley. "We turned off new account creation for all Chinese accounts." China is a country notorious for item farmers, and, according to Smedley, it is essentially impossible to fight against companies based there. Blizzard's victory, he noted, was only possible because the defendant was based in the United States.
SOE and Live Gamer both believe in the future of the virtual item market and hope that through this service, players will be convinced to take the safer and legal route when it comes time to make purchases, which in turn will then undermine the third-party market. This, combined with greater strength to their policing makes Live Gamer an attractive proposition to MMO developers.