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IGE was the brainchild of Brock Pierce, a former child actor in Hollywood who had roles in the 1990s family films “The Mighty Ducks” and “First Kid.” Precocious and quick-witted as a teenager, Pierce was also an avid gamer who had an entrepreneurial streak.In 2003, at 22, he and a partner opened an office in an industrial district of Hong Kong.
Bannon visited the Hong Kong operation every few months, former employees said, sometimes bringing business executives that employees imagined might be the big investor IGE needed.
“It wasn’t unheard of for gamers to come to our website and spend ,000” on a fully-outfitted character in a video game, said Greg Jelniker, who joined the company in 2005 as its vice president of operations but said he was later pushed out by Bannon.
In April 2004, according to internal company records, IGE took in more than .7 million in revenue for virtual goods in four popular online games, including “Ever Quest” and “Lineage II.” A year later, revenue for that same month rose to .7 million, those records show.
Bannon soon steered IGE away from its virtual goods business.
Interviews with a half-dozen former employees and executives of IGE, and hundreds of internal company documents, reveal for the first time how the company worked to avoid detection by gaming operators — for example, using the identities of unwitting U. residents to create gaming accounts and connecting to proxy servers so its activities would be harder to trace to its Hong Kong office.The small office was a round-the-clock operation, with its 15 employees taking orders from gamers around the world, former employees said.