Real Sweatshops Making Virtual Goods

from the paying-someone-else-to-play-games-for-you dept

It has been fascinating to watch the virtual worlds of MMORPGs, such as EverQuest, Worlds of Warcraft and Star Wars: Galaxies, grow very real economies. Millions of dollars change hands in the trade of virtual goods giving some of these worlds GDPs equivalent to Namibia. With such a burgeoning economy, enterprising folks are now setting up "virtual sweatshops", where laborers are paid to "farm" these virtual worlds for gold, rare items, and characters. These laborers are paid miniscule wages to monitor and cultivate characters through automated scripts which are tuned to accumulate gold and exploit certain routines designed to collect large amounts of sellable goods. Game administrators frown upon these practices since an influx of capital into an economy could cause inflation and affect quality of gameplay (or quality of "life"). Sweatshops, inflation, monetary policy -- all of a sudden, these virtual worlds don't seem so virtual anymore, do they?


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  1.  
    identicon
    me, Jul 7th, 2005 @ 12:15pm

    Where's the sweat?!?

    Maybe they should get a 'virtual' union to mess up the 'virtual' economy like real unions do the real economy...

    But yeah, lets shut them down so the poor, abused, game players...uhm, button clickers... uhm...oppressed workers!..yeah...can go back to selling themselves on the street

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Joe Badermderm, Jul 7th, 2005 @ 3:26pm

    An Adventurer is You!

    This is why I play the not-quite-as-abused-but-still-lots-of-fun-because-it-is-only-stick-figures-parody "Kingdom of Loathing". I see that people are selling currency (it's not gold but "meat" in this game!)and items on ebay. But overall it's not as whacked out as some of the other online games. (Though you wouldn't think it by looking at the boards for KoL and reading the constant complaints about "fixing the in-game economy" and "getting rid of bugmeat".)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    ROFLLOLLER, Jun 22nd, 2006 @ 1:56am

    Wow, I decided to go ahead and read that article about the asian virtual sweatshops. I have been to Bangkok and Manilla and it is true, there is a visible problem. Why aren't the governments of these countries doing more to stop this?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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