Blizzard has opened its Diablo 3 Auction House allowing players to sell virtual in-game items for real money.

Diablo 3 III Auction House Real Money

The auction system is initially available to players in North and South America and items can be bought using US dollars, Australian dollars and the Mexican peso.

The real-money auction house for European players and the remaining Americas currencies - Chilean peso, Argentine peso and Brazilian real - will launch in the near future.

The auction houses were originally supposed to go live 22 May, 2012 but were delayed over fears that some user accounts had been hacked and their characters and items stolen.

"We are rolling out elements of the real-money auction house separately to ensure all of our players have the smoothest possible experience," Blizzard said on its official blog.

"We'll have more information on the availability of the European real-money auction house and the remaining Americas currencies soon."

The slow roll out should avoid issues of servers being overloaded, as Blizzard experienced major problems when Diablo 3 first launched and too many users tried to log on worldwide.

Players can buy and sell the loot they find in the game using approved third-party payment services or with their Balance.

Additional security requirements have been implemented by Blizzard and players who use their Balance to buy and sell items will need to attach a physical Authenticator to their computer or use the Mobile Authenticator app for Android, iOS and Blackberry.

Those who wish to use PayPal will need to sign up for the SMS Protect service and enter an additional code sent by text message when making some transactions.

Each of Diablo III's three game regions - The Americas, Europe, and Asia - has its own separate set of real-money auction houses, including one for each supported currency in the region.

American and European players only have access to real-money auction houses while playing in their home region and characters created in other regions will not be able to buy, sell, or use items from any real-money auction house.

Making the Auction House an official in-game system prevents trades taking place on external sites such as eBay and allows Blizzard to charge a fee on every transaction.

In order for this to work however, everything in the game has to take place on Blizzard's servers, to prevent the introduction of fake or hacked items.

As we suggested in our review of the game, this is another reason Blizzard has opted for an always-online DRM system for Diablo 3.

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