Mike Schramm of Joystiq on the real-money marketplace of Diablo 3:
Yes, Diablo 3 players will be able to spend real money on in-game items, but rather than a traditional item store, Blizzard plans to create a system wherein players sell items to each other — the eBay of Sanctuary, if you will. Players will be able to put items up for sale in each of the game’s various regions around the world (with a different real-world currency for each), and other players will be able to spend real money to buy them, with the real-world money going back to the original item owners.
Clever idea, no doubt. Many people are up-in-arms already about this potential “shortcut” to better things. Anyone who played Diablo 2 knows that a) some items are so incredibly rare that you could play for 100 hours and never see them, and b) that this type of trading goes on via third parties1 already.
It seems unclear exactly how “cashing out” will work, but I see the benefit for everyone involved. Casual players will get some cool loot without having to quit their jobs and lose their wives. Hardcore players will be able to make money2 for all the time they put in. Blizzard will take a cut of all this, so they make money.
Any “purist” who thinks this takes away from the game is full of it. People used to trade items with each other all the time in Diablo 2, just because you can do it with strangers for real money doesn’t ruin the game.