In a similar action to that of many other MMOs such as Blizzard's World Of Warcraft, which has been particularly proactive on the issue, Square Enix's PC, PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360 MMO Final Fantasy XI has announced that it is banning the accounts of many in-game 'gold farmers', following economic problems in the online game.
A statement officially released by Square Enix on the issue reads:
"Since the end of last year, item values have risen astronomically on all Worlds due to the manipulation of prices by a small percentage of the player base. The development team and the GMs carried out a detailed investigation of this problem, and discovered the existence of a group using illicit methods to produce large amounts of gil that are later sold in the real world (Real Money Trading). We would like to take this opportunity to outline the measures that have been taken to correct this issue.
Based on the results of this investigation, more than 700 accounts among those found to be involved in large-scale RMT operations have been terminated. We will continue to monitor accounts suspected of dealing in gil created or obtained in an unfair manner. Thanks to these measures, more than 300 billion gil has been removed from circulation, and the overly inflated prices of items have begun to fall to more realistic levels."
Controversy over real-world trading of in-game items, which is not allowed in the EULA of most MMO titles, but is still nonetheless practiced in significant amounts by companies such as IGE, has been growing over recent months, with U.S. magazine PC Gamer recently making a choice to exclude such companies from advertising within its pages. Square Enix's statement finishes with a stern warning:
"As has been previously stated, acts of RMT will not be tolerated in Final Fantasy XI, and any violations of the user agreement will be dealt with severely. We would like to assure our players that all efforts are being made to ensure a fair playing experience."