From the Diablo 3 Auction House FAQ:
Can players choose to get cash from currency-based auction house sales, instead of having the proceeds deposited into their Battle.net account?
Yes, as an advanced feature, players will have the option of attaching an account with an approved third-party payment service to their Battle.net account.
And from the Battle.net Balance FAQ (see “Can I convert my Battle.net Balance into cash?”), we know that service will be PayPal if you reside in “certain regions”. Certain regions mean likely “countries that PayPal functions in” or perhaps “countries with an extradition treaty”, but who am I to say? Very likely, countries like China, Korea, Japan, Russia, members of the EU, and the States will all be on that list.
This is still a brilliant move on Blizzard’s part. It will cut gold sellers off at the knee as they will no longer be able to single-handledly play with the exchange rate of real money to in-game money. That exchange rate will be set by the player base at large and ultimately corralled by Blizzard…who will naturally make a pleasant profit off of listing and processing fees. Like a real for-profit auction.
Don’t get me wrong; I don’t mean to paint Blizzard in a negative light here. I’m pleasantly surprised they’re doing this at all. I hate pay-to-win models, but the fact of the matter is – just as they say in those FAQs – buying, selling, and trading in-game items is a fundamental aspect of the Diablo series. Sure, people traded purely in-game (and that will still be an option) but some people do like to put their cash in to get a benefit. I don’t mind those people. I do mind gold sellers constantly spamming chat with “COME TO THIS OBVIOUSLY MALICIOUS WEBSITE AND BUY OUR GOLDLOL” and my hope is that will face a curtailing since their competition will be all of us.
The ramifications of this will no doubt be more wide spread than any of us realize right now; we’ll definitely see other games do this (see: EVE online and the like…only with a much more understandable and friendly interface some day). I wonder what the fall out of this will really be?