Sunday, December 11, 2005

Paying "gold farmers" to play your games for you

Laziness reaches new heights.

Extracted from:
Ogre to Slay? Outsource It to Chinese
David Barboza - New York Times, December 9, 2005

FUZHOU, China - One of China's newest factories operates here in the basement of an old warehouse. Posters of World of Warcraft and Magic Land hang above a corps of young people glued to their computer screens, pounding away at their keyboards in the latest hustle for money.

"It's unimaginable how big this is," says Chen Yu, 27, who employs 20 full-time gamers here in Fuzhou. "They say that in some of these popular games, 40 or 50 percent of the players are actually Chinese farmers."

From Seoul to San Francisco, affluent online gamers who lack the time and patience to work their way up to the higher levels of gamedom are willing to pay the young Chinese here to play the early rounds for them.

Workers have strict quotas and are supervised by bosses who equip them with computers, software and Internet connections to thrash online trolls, gnomes and ogres.

"For 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, my colleagues and I are killing monsters," said a 23-year-old gamer who works here in this makeshift factory and goes by the online code name Wandering. "I make about $250 a month, which is pretty good compared with the other jobs I've had. And I can play games all day."

By some estimates, there are well over 100,000 young people working in China as full-time gamers, toiling away in dark Internet cafes, abandoned warehouses, small offices and private homes.

Most of the players here actually make less than a quarter an hour, but they often get room, board and free computer game play in these "virtual sweatshops."

The Chinese government estimates that there are 24 million online gamers in China, meaning that nearly one in four Internet users here play online games.

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At 8:16 AM, Blogger kenju said...

There's something very sick about this. Sad, too.


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