Gold Farming – How Chinese Sweat Shops Help Western Geeks

World of Warcraft Buffalo Cow Man Thing

Gold Farming – a strange new industry based on lazy Western computer game geeks. From prisons, to sweat shops, to offices. Slaying dragons is safer than factory work.

World of Warcraft Buffalo Cow Man Thing

I’m no gamer myself, I’ve got nothing against games per se, it’s just they never hooked me in as a child, so I hadn’t heard of Gold Farming before. For those who aren’t in the know, it involves herds of Chinese people playing hours and hours of World of Warcraft and other sucky geek fests. Why do they do this? – in order to get all the special jazzy power ups, coins and nubbins to sell on ebay back to Western geeks who can’t afford the time/have more important things to do rather than spend hours on end farming fake gold themselves. So, say you had come up against a task that was doing your swede in and you hadn’t got enough shiny pretend coins to buy a new uber weapon, you could go on ebay and a nice Chinese fella will sort you out. Needless to say, many gamers and many games manufacturers are a tad upset at this as it is both cheating and ruining their fun at the same time. Personally I say good on you China for finding another economic way to beat the world at something we didn’t even know existed.

Some of these Gold Farms are run like sweat shops, and often times in prisons they are used to further punish the inmates. Once the crims get in from carving chopsticks out of wood or digging holes with their bare hands they are forced to play compuer games for twelve house straight.  If they don’t reach their quota they are beaten with rubber hoses when they get back to their room. One ex-prisoner they interviewed, who incidentally was imprisoned for “illegally petitioning the government” about how his town was being run corruptly – wow, what a terrible crime, said “….We kept playing until we could barely see things”. Well as long as the spindly, pizza faced Goth down the road gets his special ultra snazzy laser quicker, I guess the suffering is worth while.

The Guardian says that about 80% of all Gold Farmers are currently chilling in China, which they reckon is around 100,000 full-time Farmers in total. That’s a lot of professional dragon slaying. As for the amount of money that’s being generated, the lowest estimate I saw was $200,000,000 a year! In properly managed Gold Farms the employees seem relatively happy, they get paid the same as someone who works in a factory or down a mine, but the health and safety risks are obviously slightly higher in that line of work. Explosives, rocks, pick axes compared to keyboard and mouse…. yeah, I think I’d go for the computer game option too. This is a trailer for a movie all about this new growth industry. It looks better than by job tbh.

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Maybe I’ve missed the boat with all this gaming shenanigans, but am I the only person that thinks that buying virtual cyber coins from people thousands of miles away to help me get to another virtually real place, is a bit weird?


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