Over the past couple of years, Sony Online Entertainment has transitioned all of their MMORPGs into free-to-play games, relying on microtransactions and a cash shop to make their money. Now, they've announced a plan that would let players make real-world money from SOE's cash stores too.
The Player Studio will allow players — for now, of EverQuest and EverQuest II, with other games to be added — to create and upload their own in-game items, after which SOE will consider adding them to the shop:
Once complete, players are encouraged to name and create a description for their item, describe how the item will fit into the prospective game's ongoing narrative storyline, and submit it to SOE for review and possible inclusion in the SOE Marketplace. If a player-created item is selected for inclusion in the SOE Marketplace, SOE will share 40% of the net amount it receives from the sale of the item with the player that created the item.
Not every novice will be able to participate; creating the items and working with the geometry requires a certain amount of proficiency with modelling programs like Maya or 3DS Max. SOE president John Smedley clarified in a tweet that users will not be adding stats to items themselves; while players can submit suggestions with their designs, items selected for the shop will be balanced for in-game use by the SOE team before going live.
Back in my EverQuest II days, creative home decorators were making palaces out of crates and rugs. I can only imagine what they'll get up to with the actual item geometry files in their hands...
SOE Player Studio [Sony Online Entertainment]