A few days ago, an exploit was found in the Diablo III auction house that allowed users to generate gold out of thin air. Considering that users have the option to purchase gold with real world money, this means that, in a roundabout way, Blizzard is actually losing money.
Blizzard has since released a quick fix for the exploit after shutting down both the gold and real money auction houses. However, despite the fix, Blizzard will be keeping both auction houses offline for an undetermined amount of time. They have assured us that they will keep fans informed on all relevant updates, but could not commit to a time frame for bringing the auction houses online.
Blizzard has decided not to roll back its server status as a result of this bug. Instead, they will simply deal with the users of this exploit on a case by case basis. However, it’s likely that the newly rich have already dumped their riches into equipment and other sellable items, so Blizzard certainly has their work cut out for them.
The auction houses of Diablo III have always been controversial. Offering real world money for in game objects has always been a practice that one could participate in on eBay or other auctioning sites, but Blizzard was the first to condone the practice publicly. Unfortunately, it appears as if our security measures are just not advanced enough to facilitate the exchange of real world dollars for digital objects.