Station Exchange open for business July 20

Next week, Sony Online Entertainment's online auction site will let EverQuest II players buy and sell in-game items for real-life cash.

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Until this year, Sony Online Entertainment had decried the selling of in-game items from its suite of massively multiplayer role-playing games on real-world auction sites like eBay. However, in April, the company reversed itself, saying it would open Station Exchange, an officially sanctioned Web site to broker sales of items from its most popular MMORPG, EverQuest II.

After weeks of confidential beta testing, Station Exchange went online this week. While the site is visible to the public, actual buying and selling is currently still limited to several hundred "prelaunch" testers. Speaking to GameSpot, an SOE rep encouraged gamers to observe the site and read a FAQ on how the auctions will work.

EverQuesters eager to hawk EverQuest II items, characters, and in-game coinage for real-life ducats won't have to wait long to do so. SOE confirmed that Station Exchange will be open for business starting July 20--next Wednesday. The new date comes three weeks after the site's originally announced "late June" launch. SOE reps said they had taken the extra time to help ensure "all the kinks were worked out."

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