Real Money For Virtual Gold as a Virtual Job?

February 12, 2007 No Comments

Would you want to play video games as your job? Sounds like fun to me! How about if your job is to make gold all day in a virtual game for a small amount of money but enough to survive. Then you sleep on the floor in a cramped room with about 8 other people. Your boss constantly looking over your shoulder making sure you are fighting the right monsters to make gold. While you work you can’t explore the virtual world or actually PLAY the game. Also not knowing if the game developers will ban your account for selling gold for real money. Is that something people would be willing to do? Well this is what happens in gold farming businesses in China.

I’ve been playing runescape and have noticed people who chop trees for money all day. Their combat level is very low because all they do is make money so they can sell the gold on other websites. Some Just build up a character level to a certain point and then sell it for real money. Now most of these virtual games like WOW, Runescape, Everquest and lineage have rules against selling of virtual characters or objects for real money. Most of them don’t have the time to investigate every incident of selling so it has become a market of it’s own. The majority of the gold farming is done in World Of Warcraft and is a big problem to some players and to Blizzard management.

I wanted to know more about it and found a preview video on youtube about a documentary about this kind of business. More info on this project is found at: chinesegoldfarmers.com

The gold farmers sell the gold or virtual characters to brokers who then sell them to other players. The brokers make a lot more money then the gold farmers. It’s a virtual sweatshop and thousands of Chinese workers do this to make money. Who are the people buying these virtual goods? People who want to get ahead of everyone else because they don’t have the time to play the game. When I play a game I play it for myself. I want to beat the game and be proud of what I have done. I can’t even imagine buying a character just to show off to others.

This market is there because of the demand from rich players. The obvious problem with this is that it’s against the rules of most of the online virtual games. But if it wasn’t against the rules then it would be exploitive to the workers who make very little money. I don’t see anyway this type of market will disappear as long as people are willing to buy the products. It can be very hard to trace where the gold is coming from and who is actually selling the gold for real money.

I can’t even blame the workers because it’s probably the best work they can find in their town. They also get to learn about other cultures, language and people just by playing a virtual game. They can even learn something that can be used in a much better job. I think the conditions for these workers are terrible but is it worse than another local job? Not knowing their life and community I can’t really make a judgement if they’re better off playing games for money or not.

Here are some other links I have found about this business:

all games, world of warcraft

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