Entropia Universe is a virtual universe with a real cash economy. It is set on the distant colony of Calypso, the first habitable planet mankind has ever found. The players take the roles of colonizers that strive to build a new world together, under the threat from various enemies that wants to destroy the colony.
What does this mean?
It means that Entropia Universe is a large multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). The normal way such games operate is by purchasing the client software in a store and then pay a subscription fee every 30 days, while the internal game economy is just that –- a game economy.
Entropia Universe does the opposite! The client software is free to download over the Internet and there are no subscription fee associated whatsoever. The real cash economy means that the internal Entropia Universe economy is linked to the real world economy, by using a currency called the Entropia Universe Dollar (PED), which have a fixed exchange rate to the US Dollar (10 PED equals 1 USD).
You as a player use PED to acquire virtual land and equipment in Entropia Universe to invest in your avatar’s (Player representation in the virtual universe) growth and abilities. A unique aspect of Entropia Universe is that a player may elect to transfer PED back into real life currency, thereby enabling them to earn real money while playing an online computer game.
As Calypso is a recently discovered planet, the colonizers – the players – need to establish their own economy and build their society. This requires a lot of cooperation and specialization – one man cannot make it all. This means that the players need to collaborate when it comes to advancing the level of development; it is better to have a specialized miner searching for minerals and an expert tools manufacturer making tools. This is also true in regards to the land management and estate brokering.
What are these Virtual items I keep hearing about?
Virtual items are items that exist in the virtual universe, like a laser rifle, a house, or a vehicle. They are intangible assets, which in Entropia Universe have a real value as they can be sold, bought, and traded for PED. The concept is not as strange as it seems, as people have paid for Virtual items, or experiences, for decades, when one thinks about it. When you go to a store and buy a CD, what are you paying for, really? Is it the shiny plastic disc you have bought, or is the content in form of music? You have bought the experience of listening to something you deem valuable. The same theory applies to the virtual rifle, house, etc in Entropia Universe.