Thanks to Wired News for its article discussing IBM's new Business Integration for Games (BIG) middleware for online gaming, technology which "lets game publishers install billing software to keep track of transactions in their online worlds", and IBM claim might "make it easier for the publishers to charge players to gain access to new content or new areas to explore -- something that currently has to be done with expansion packs and incremental product releases." According to the IBM project manager, the BIG project could "allow users to unlock new weapons or powers by paying for them within the context of the game", and it's also suggested that the tech, though just a sophisticated in-game billing system, might mean "hard-core fans could develop their own content, insert it into the game and make money from other fans."
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