Gold Farming: Real Power Relations Play Out in Virtual Environments
One of China's newest factories operates here in the basement of an old
warehouse. Posters of World of Warcraft and Magic Land hang above a
corps of young people with drowsy eyes glued to their computer screens,
pounding away at their keyboards in the latest hustle for money.
The people working at this clandestine locale are called "gold
farmers." Every day, in 12-hour shifts, they kill monsters and harvest
"gold coins" and other virtual goods that they can sell to other online
gamers. From Seoul to San Francisco, gamers who lack the hours or the
patience to work their way up to the higher levels of gamedom, are
hiring young Chinese to play the early rounds for them.
"For 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, me and my colleagues are killing
monsters," said a 23-year-old gamer who works in the makeshift factory
and goes by the online code-name "Wandering." . more