“While the Internet has produced some strange job descriptions over the years, it is hard to think of any more surreal than that of the Chinese gold farmer” (Dibbell, p. 2).
I couldn’t agree more with this quote from “The Life of the Chinese Gold Farmer”. After reading this article I was shocked to learn that people were actually selling their virtual goods to other gamers. But what was even more shocking was that individuals like Li Qiwen plays World of Warcraft twelve hours a night, seven nights a week, with the goal of collecting gold coins, which he then gives to his supervisor. I learned that selling virtual goods for real money is called real-money trading, which has become very popular today. Growing up I never was a gamer, my parents were very old-fashioned and did not allow my siblings and I to engage in video games or computer games, unless they were educational. Joining Second Life, I became more aware of the virtual gaming world and realized many individuals view Second Life as their “first life” and they will spend thousands of dollars on items and clothes geared towards enhancing their avatar in SL. The Castronova reading also informed us as to how many businesses have been bringing in much revenue from the virtual world. It has gotten to the point where people are paying to be part of this online community, which then turns this into an online economy, but the problem is that those profiting from the work are not giving adequate credit to those doing the work. A clear example of this is that of Li Qiwen, who plays World of Warcraft as a living and making less than a dollar per hour.
This phenomenon of profiting from online games is only going to grow from here. The kids in China are forced to “farm” for gold by playing World of Warcraft, which I think is very inhumane and unethical. But today, many businesses and companies will do anything in their power to generate more revenue and increase their supply.