The world of Ultima Online just got a little poorer. Electronic Arts has announced the permanent removal of roughly 15 trillion gold from the game's economy and the termination of more than 180 user accounts in connection with the funds, which it referred to as "dirty money."
In a posting on the game's Web site, the company announced that the funds were confiscated in the form of large denomination checks. In-game checks were intended to top out at a million gold pieces, but EA discovered a number of players with checks far exceeding that amount. The publisher said "these inflated checks have been used by exploiters to store extremely large amounts of gold."
A quick survey of eBay found Ultima Online gold sellers typically asking for between $3 and $4 per million gold pieces, with the few auctions that actually had bids on them running closer to $1 per million gold pieces. Even at the low end of that range, the real-world value of the deleted gold would be about $15 million, and possibly closer to the $60 million some online sellers would ask for it.