The real money auction house for Diablo 3 won't be going live this week as planned. Instead, Blizzard has decided to move the service's launch until the end of the month.
"As we mentioned earlier this week, we’ve decided to move out our target launch for the real-money auction house beyond our original estimated date of May 22," Blizzard said. "Our new estimated date for the launch of this new system is Tuesday, May 29."
Blizzard first revealed the delay while apologizing for the game's server problems. During D3's first few days of availability, many users experienced disconnects and heavy lag. At times, the servers were down altogether. Considering that the game requires players to be online at all times whether they're playing alone or with friends, this is a pretty devastating problem. Blizzard has decided to focus on stabilizing the servers for the immediate future.
The real money auction house (or "RMAH") allows players to buy and sell armor, weapons, and other items. A similar "black market" version, run by players, sprung up during Diablo 2's heyday. Blizzard decided to make their own auction house this time around in order to make transactions safer.
There's also money at stake; Blizzard takes a small cut of all transactions conducted through the auction house. Any problems with the RMAH's operations would put a dent in their profits - and turn off players from using it in the future - so you can understand why they'd hold off on launching it until the game's other online features were running smoothly.
If you'd rather not spend real-world money on D3 items, note that there's a separate auction house that utilizes in-game gold as well. The gold auction house has been live since the game's launch. The second alternative is to just ignore the auction houses altogether and get your loot the old-fashioned way: by prying it from the cold hands of the demon army you just slaughtered. That's the approach I recommend, anyway.
D3 launched this Tuesday in countries throughout the globe. For our thoughts on the game, read our review.