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The Balance, AKA Bobby Bucks, was revealed in December 2011.[1] This is Blizzard's term for the real currency balance tied to your account. This money is used for purchasing items via the Diablo III Real Money Auction House, and can also be spent on other products from the Blizzard Store, including games, merchandise, and World of Warcraft fees.

The introduction of real money currency trading in Diablo III was a very contentious issue. While this article covers only the Balance, you can find full details about the controversy in the Real Money Trading article.

Official Announcement

Blizzard revealed this term and much of the explanation behind it in mid-December, 2011.[2]

Soon, we’ll be introducing a new feature called Balance that will give players an alternate way to purchase Blizzard products and services directly through their account. Players will be able to “charge up” their Balance using a variety of payment methods, and then use their Balance to buy services like World of Warcraft character transfers, digital products like pets and mounts, and more. Players will also be able to use their Account Balance to buy items and store their earnings from Diablo III’s currency-based auction house once the game is released. We’ll be rolling out the new Balance feature in the weeks ahead — but in the meantime, check out our Balance FAQ to find out more about how it’s going to work.

Paying in and Cashing Out

Players can add to their Balance with credit cards or other online payment methods, depending on the region. The main purpose of such a balance is to buy items in the Diablo III Real Money Auction House. In some regions players will be able to pay for items directly with their credit cards or PayPal, without having to first transfer the money into their Balance.

You can never directly withdraw money, though. All sales send the funds into your Balance, which you can then withdraw from, in most, but not all, regions. Cashing out is not an option in all regions; some countries have laws regulating this (as the saga of the Korean Game Rating Board demonstrated[3]).

In areas that allow cashing out, players can use PayPal to withdraw funds from their account, though PayPal charges their usual money transfer fee for this service. In regions that do not allow the cash out, players can only spend their Balance on other products from the Blizzard online store. The balance is non-transferable in all areas, and Blizzard may delete your balance if an account has not been accessed in over three years.

See the Balance FAQ for more details. Many specifics have not yet been revealed, and with terms varying so much in different regions, it will be essential to check Blizzard's info for your country, once that information is finalized.