Video Game Wage Slaves
From sweatshops to stateside corporations, some people are profiting off of MMO gold.
by James Lee 07.05.2005
ast month we showed you some of the scammers and crooks that lurk in MMO games. Now, let's go into the field for a firsthand account of another part of the online underworld.
"Sack" is the only name I'm given for the person I'm supposed to contact. He lives in the Fujian province of China, but his place of business is online%u2014he plays Lineage II. He's paid about 56 cents an hour to work in a videogame "sweatshop."
If the term sounds familiar, it's because of Lee Caldwell. The notorious MMORPG scripter got busted four years ago for admitting that his company, BlackSnow, hired workers in Tijuana to earn gold by "farming" in Ultima Online. Caldwell sold that in-game tender online for a handsome real-world profit while only paying his employees pennies on the dollar. Since 1998, the second-party market for MMORPG loot has steadily grown. Last year alone, this newfound industry grossed roughly $500 million, according to Bob Kiblinger of UOTreasures. CGW decided it was high time to go underground and find some of the key players who are going after a piece of the action.