Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The life of a Chinese gold farmer

(via Colin Miller) As part of my growing interest in virtual economies, here is an eye-opening look at the gold of Chinese gold farmers from Julian Dibbell, including some video footage of their virtual sweat shops (you can sort of smell that the term could be quite literal as well).

Dibbell nails the point that this is probably little different to the conditions found in other sweat shops in China, but that the product still shocks us because these people are hired to play games and produce virtual goods with real monetary value.

I know that this may be a shallow point to make (nobody has ever accused me of depth to the best of my knowledge), but I wonder if there's anyone out there willing to pay me for the many hours spent gaming in front of my computer?


Ben Bildstein said...

Good article. Long article, but worth reading to the end.

It left me feeling uneasy, but in a way I can't put into words.

For the record, I don't MMOG.

Andres Guadamuz said...

Hi Ben,

I agree, it is somehow disturbing, Dibbell writes well, and he has an enviable knack for description.

I was perhaps less impressed with the underlying theme. There is a certain ambivalence here, is farming good or bad? If I lived in China and I had to choose between gold farming and applying glue to widgets 12 hours a day, I know what I would prefer.

I'm still not sure what to make of it all.