Today, an article in Mother Jones reminded us that back in 2008 we here at WIRED wrote about it. The story focuses on the World of Warcraft marketplace called Internet Gaming Entertainment, where players could pay real money for virtual goods, like gold, in the game. The company was founded by former child star Brock Pierce, and Bannon was an investor. Bannon managed to convince Goldman Sachs to plow $60 million into a company that sold imaginary goods in an imaginary world.
Surely there’s a metaphor in there somewhere.
Here’s a bit of the original article:
Goldman Sachs started making visits, inspecting the Asian operations and talking with Bannon and others about terms. Finally, on February 7, 2006, the deal was inked: Goldman Sachs, together with a consortium of private funds, made a reported $60 million investment in the company. Part of the money was used to buy Pierce, Salyer, and IGE’s general counsel, Randy Maslow, out of some of their stock in the company. Pierce walked away with $20 million and still retained the controlling share of a company that was doing more than a quarter of a billion dollars in sales a year.
In 2007, following a major lawsuit by one World of Warcraft player, who accused IGE of “substantially impairing” players’ enjoyment of the game, the company took a nosedive. It rebranded to Affinity Media, and Bannon took over as CEO. He stayed in that role until 2012, when he joined Breitbart, which, coincidentally, also peddles imaginary stuff on the Internet.
You should go read the whole story.