Over the weekend, the global auction site eBay has called time on almost all virtual items on the site.

The past few years has seen an explosion in the sale of, and astronomical prices commanded by, in-game items for games like World of Warcraft and EverQuest II. The market is such that virtual acquisition sweat-shops has sprung up in countries like China.

“Gold Farming”, or the practice of collecting in-game material for real world wealth has become so widespread that now eBay has decided to put an end to their part in it. Not entirely though…

Though all listings for goods from the likes of WoW have been withdrawn, Second Life items have been granted a stay of execution.

eBay spokesman Hani Durzy explained, “If someone participates in Second Life and wants to sell something they own, we are not at this point pro-actively pulling those listings off the site. We think there is an open question about whether Second Life should be regarded as a game”.