By Eugene . April 20, 2014 . 11:02am
Clash of Clans is one of the biggest names in social mobile gaming. We recently took a quick look at its grey area—selling an account. Here’s what we found.
First, a table graph taking a look at some of the last four months (January to April to date). The above table is only from the first page of eBay’s successfully “sold” accounts, and doesn’t include a massive outlier we’ll discuss later.
The graph shows account sales, sorted by account levels and the price people ostensibly paid for them. By itself, it’s hard to spot a trend. Prices seem to go everywhere. However, diving into the listings, one thing that stands out is that those with descriptors tend to get paid more. The account seems to sound more legit that way, probably. For example, this level 90 account sold for $500 lists down explicitly what you’ll get in the account; such as the level of buildings. Those that don’t, however, such as the level 71 account sold for $75, tend to get much less.
Trust, for obvious reasons, is in very short amounts. Those who talk more, get more, so it appears, as being scammed is par for the course in the grey market. There’s therefore a need by buyers to be reassured of what they’re getting, even if all they get really is a descriptor. Of course, this is a very generalized, sweeping kind of cursory look into the grey market that is account selling. But it’s interesting that even a free-to-play game account can command basically pretty decent figures—and perhaps a reason why those who are willing to spend in such games tend to come out on top. They can literally buy their way to the top, a well known issue.
There was one outlier case that we didn’t include in the above graph. Nonetheless, it’s interesting to examine. In this eBay sale, one Clash user seems to have decided to sell his decent account due to work. And it appears the winning bid is $8,988 for the final bid. Two things stand out here which made us not include this piece in the table above.
The first is its simply massive sale price in comparison to everyone else. It’s hard—though not unbelievably so—to believe someone actually paid almost $9,000 for an account. That’s almost 18 times the price of the next highest account sale. Which also happens to be a level 90 account. Yes, this particular account listing is very detailed, with a seller seeming to legitimately explain the reason for his sale. No one else is that detailed. But even with our own generalized note that more details means higher sale prices, the price differential was too gargantuan.
The second bit raising alarm bells are the screenshots. Take a look at the included screenshot from that $9,000 account listing below.
You’ll notice a “Return Home” bit on the lower left. This is the sort of screen you’ll see when you’re visiting someone else’s home base, rather than your own. Yes, we do get to see the account level 90 number (what the account is ostensibly selling) but it isn’t the right screen. Compare this with the first screenshot we posted, which shows an “Attack!” button in the lower left. That’s the traditional, correct home screen for your own account. Whether this is a real or fake deal and final sale, though, plays back into the issues of trust the grey market commands for its premium.
While it’s against EULA to sell accounts, what do you think about such deeds? Would you? Is it worthwhile? If you have bought or sold something, maybe you’d like to share a tale with us about it in the comments below.