Blizzard has recently announced a new type of Auction House for its newest iteration of the Diablo franchise. This new AH will feature weapons and armor available for purchase using cold, hard cash. They will run along side (though separately) from the traditional auction houses like World of Warcraft's that use in-game currency.
Like the World of Warcraft auction houses, Diablo's cash-only AH will require the user to pay a fee to put it up for sale, then they will be required to pay a transaction fee when the item is sold. The seller then may keep the money on his (or her) account to use for in-game or other Blizzard products, or cash out for yet another fee. The fees are at this moment still being negotiated, though I'm sure on such a grand scale and with such a dedicated fan base that it won't matter. At all.
This poses a scary situation. I can see many people, especially a few friends I know, making this a full time job. I'm already picturing my friends trying to make a living off of playing and selling items in-game. I suppose it remains to be seen on how much in-game items will cost. Blizzard has a tendancy of pumping out some really expensive, rare or even one-off items that may end up costing hundreds or thousands on the new marketplace. After all, Blizzard will profit off of every item sold.
I'm not liking what this game is implying for the future of games. Micro-purchasing seems to be the way of the future. Look at games like Farmville (or any Zynga, or even any facebook game), any iOS game, and many Xbox or PS3 games like Record of Agarest War where in-game purchases will give you an edge over the average Joe pinch-penny. The era fair, balanced gaming is over. Hail your new King, Disposable-Income Man.