Major Chinese Gold Farming Operations Exposed in Tomorrow’s NY Times

by Alphaville Herald on 08/12/05 at 6:34 pm

There is a fantastic article by David Barboza in tomorrow’s (Friday) New York Times, but it is already up on the site of the International Herald Tribune if you want a peek. It is only the second case that I know of, where the reporter actually went and visited gold farming operations. I talked to Barboza on the phone when he was working on the story in China and he told me things that blew my mind. Like, for instance, he and his aides have been to a dozen of these places, some of which have 100 workers living in dormatories working 12 hour shifts. They get paid about a dollar a day or less in some cases, although sometimes they get two meals and a place to live in the dorm. Hey, sounds like college! Anyway, he’s supposed to have great pics. I’ll be interested to see if they are printed in tomorrow’s Times.

6 Responses to “Major Chinese Gold Farming Operations Exposed in Tomorrow’s NY Times”

  1. urizenus

    Dec 9th, 2005

    discussion has opened up on Terra Nova, which should be interesting,

  2. Prokofy Neva

    Dec 9th, 2005

    Yeah, nothing gets the eggheads more excited than the gold-farming chesnut story, which the leftist blog at has now picked up after it was churned in game blogs. It plays into their cracked worldview that capitalism, i.e. game companies, is evil, and forces poor third-world innocents to be exploited to mine gold for spoiled Western kids in games. All these journos have been played like violins.

  3. Kiss

    Dec 9th, 2005

    You mean this internetweb thingy is available even in low cost labor areas and casual gamers in the west might figure out that their time is more valuable than some unemployed kid in China’s is? That said western gamer might find a way to have said Chinese kid work through the boring grind and timesink portions so that he can enjoy the parts of the game that interest him. What a shocker, who could have predicted this!

    Here’s a few others for you:

    1) All virtual goods have value. They represent time.
    2) Everybody’s time has value.
    3) The value of a persons time varies but is generally dependent upon income level in the area in which they live.
    4) The game company’s go through the motions of combating gold farmers/account sellers but realize it’s a pointless battle. Unless there is absolutely no way for accounts to transfer their virtual assets back and forth people will do so for money on the side.
    5) Gold farming with real life people is not the same as using bots. If there is a person behind the keyboard the account has done nothing wrong even by the game company standards until it trys to sell it’s virtual goods for cash.
    6) $75 a month with room and board is a damn fine wage in mainland China for a kid.

    Welcome to the global village bitches.

  4. RB

    Dec 10th, 2005

    Now you know how IGE became so massive and why it’s so successful. They tell a bad lie if they deny it.

    - RB.

  5. TSOHoliday

    Dec 10th, 2005

    Oh Neva, when will you stop referring to my propaganda of choice as that leftist blog?

    I thought the NYT article was interesting, more balanced than I expected. What amazes me is that online games have reached that point. Geeks have imagined MMORPG’s for years, but whose fantasy ever involved Ebay auctions and goldfarms in China?

  6. urizenus sklar

    Dec 15th, 2005

    There is a HUGE discussion of this Chinese gold farming issue on the Professional Ethics blog.

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