For people living on the moon, Broken Toys is the blog of one of the earliest MMOG commentators out there, Scott Jennings (formerly known as Lum the Mad). He has recently posted and reported about the latest lawsuit in the ever-growing charade surrounding IGE’s past and present activities. It appears that the sleazier fringes of the American leeches, those who give lawyers everywhere a bad name, are trying to gag commentary putting the already heavily battered reputation of their client under further light.
For reference, IGE’s name and their unsavory execs have had a long history of dabbling with RMT and gold selling in most MMOs, in a blatant violation of their Terms of Service. They have bought up successively thottbot, Allakhazam and wowhead, in a move which I’m quite ready to liken to efforts made by the Mob at various times to buy legitimate businesses with dirty money in order to feign respectability, and while these three sites will swear, honest-to-god, that they have no ties anymore to their allegedly former TOS-breaking parent (and they could even be of good faith with their beliefs), enough evidence to the contrary surfaced through the many pending lawsuits around IGE to question just how much these ties are broken, if at all.
The point here, however, is that Scott has to edit his post to comply with a lawyer’s bullying. Since Altitis is neither operated nor hosted in the USA, though, the original piece below is reposted for posterity. The words below are of course not mine, I’m not smart enough for that.
Pierce To Yantis To Evers To Chance: The Rise And Fall Of IGE
MMOcitizen.com, a website operated by the law firm currently bringing a class action lawsuit against IGE, obtained and published a copy of a complaint in another lawsuit involving IGE: this one brought against former CEO Brock Pierce last year by co-founder Alan Debonneville.
For almost 5 years, Debonneville has dedicated his entire life to the creation, development, and success of IGE US, LLC (”IGE”). IGE’s meteoric rise from an under funded startup to the market leader culminated in a Goldman-Sachs investment of $60,000,000, which set the value of IGE at the time of $220,000,000. While Pierce, a flamboyant former child actor, has always been the public face of IGE, Debonneville has been the tireless working founder, responsible for the expansion and operation of the company.
The filing goes into great detail about IGE’s rise and fall from Debonneville’s point of view, with, just in case you weren’t already glued to your PDF files, added dirt from the dot-com-money-and-man-boy-love days of DEN.
After living and working in Spain for a few months, Debonneville observed that Rector and Pierce had a very close relationship, one that did not seem normal between a 40-year old man and a 20-year old young man…
…Apparently, there were a multitude of charges related to the prior operation of a company specifying that Pierce, Rector, and Shackley had stolen money from the company and wasted corporate assets for things like the purchase of illicit drugs, living a lavish lifestyle, and criminal allegations of transporting a minor across state lines for sexual purposes. Upon learning this information, Debonneville questioned Pierce regarding the allegations, and Pierce stated that the claims were false and contrived as a setup by some competitors and former employees…
Wild enough? It gets… something. Worse? Better? Uwe Boll?
Debonneville was told by Pierce that the “Spanish FBI” came to their house with a “SWAT” team in helicopters, kicked in their door, shot their dog, and threw all of them in jail.
The complaint eventually leaves the Mallorca Vice portion of history and gives a breezy history of much of what we knew already – IGE’s quick rise and huge cash infusions, and the use of that in a quest to purchase respectability through hiring executives and purchasing websites. Eventually, it all falls apart around the time of the Goldman Sachs investment as the principals began to fall out over arguing over how to divide up the huge amount of stock, which is dealt in the document (from Debonneville’s viewpoint, of course) in point-by-point detail.
Debonneville was starting to discover that Pierce had not only lied to Debonneville about the Yantis Stock Repurchase, but also that Pierce had benefited personally to the detriment of Debonneville from the Salyer and Maslow sale of stock. Of course, Debonneville was shocked to learn that Pierce had sold any of Pierce’s stock in IGE…
…On July 14, 2006, in an apparent attempt to convince Debonneville that his interest in IGE was becoming worth less and less money, Debonneville was sent an article regarding a crackdown on the sale and purchase of game items for cash in Korea. The implication was that IGE’s recent acquisition of Itemmania, a Korean online house, was going to be a failure. In hindsight, it appears that this was just another one of Pierce’s attempts to manipulate Debonneville into selling his stock to Pierce for a less than fair value, certainly for less than Pierce realized on the sale to Maverick. Today, it is likely that this may in fact be IGE’s most valuable remaining asset…
And just in case you started nodding off with tales of stock screwballery… enter everyone’s friend in space, Jonathan Yantis.
Yantis also advised Debonneville that if a deal was not reached with IGE, Yantis had already put a network in place to compete with and destroy IGE. Yantis stated that through the hiring of certain individuals who he had a long time business relationship with, Yantis would sell currency that had been exploited or duped.
Exploiting or duping is a process whereby an outsider hacks the game program into creating currency for the individual or duplicating an item and then selling it over and over which also results the creation of currency. These actions allow for the exploiter/duper to create an endless supply of currency without any real cost to that currenct. This is something Yantis has done in the past and made large profits from. The exploiter/duper would typically receive a commission for any currency sold of about 40% of the sales price. Due to the currency being exploited, Yantis was and would be able to sell currency at a price significantly below market, since the cost of the currency sold was non existent. This also allowed for an infinite supply to be created in what could take as little time as a few minutes.
Yantis indicated that this was also how he could turn the trading arm of IGE around and make it profitable, almost instantly. Pierce was aware of Yantis’ intent to use these exploits. In fact, Pierce counted on them as part of the rationale behind why Yantis should be brought back to work for IGE.
A clearer explanation of the toxic effects of RMT on online gaming has yet to be written. (I know. I tried.)
I’m sure that as this hits the commentariat there will be more to be said. Oh, there will be more.