Ogre to Slay? Outsource it to Chinese

Online gamers with money to burn, who have neither the time nor patience to battle their way up to the higher levels of games such as World of Warcraft and Magic Land, are willing to pay others to do it for them. A business known as "gold farming" has appeared in China, in which young men, mostly with dim employment prospects, spend hours playing online games, accumulating points, killing monsters, and selling the virtual rewards they earn to other players around the world for real cash. "Gold farming" marks the emergence of a "virtual economy" that blurs the distinction between fantasy and reality. It is supported by, and some say, exploits the wage differential between the US and China for unskilled labor, and is also of questionable legality. Nonetheless, large companies like Sony Online Entertainment are jumping into the fray with their own versions of "gold farming." With the Chinese government increasingly restricting excessive Internet use, however, players are racing against the clock to score as many points as possible before time is up. – YaleGlobal

Ogre to Slay? Outsource it to Chinese

David Barboza
Friday, December 9, 2005

Click here for the original article on The New York Times website.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

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