Reading Dibbell’s article about gold farmers, I’m really not that all surprised that there is exploitation online like this. Paying within video games is nothing new and while I have never experienced it, I have always heard about it. For just about every game that requires “leveling up”, you can probably find someone online who will do it for you for a certain price. I remember when Call of Duty 4 first came out. Online, you can reach level 55 and once you do, you have the option to “prestige”, which is basically starting back at level one but having a different emblem by your name. You can “prestige” 10 times, and each time you do it you get a different emblem. People online did it for the emblem, but they didn’t want to start back at zero. I remember always hearing from my friends that people actually paid others to do it for them, which to me is ridiculous. You bought the game to play it, not to have someone play it for you. As awful as Dibbell’s article sounds and the lives of those farmers, it’s a completely different culture and lifestyle in Asia. Gaming is a huge part of their economy and lifestyle while exploitation is used with just about everyone in every industry in Asia. Online is a big business for money, whether ethical or not, due to the high volume of online communities. I think it’s also interesting to note in the article that Min says, “They are playing. And we are making a living.” Something as simple as a game can be multi-million dollar business for those who wish to exploit it.
Is work online different than work offline? Of course it is. In the case study of IBM, an online conference was held that was a fifth of the cost of a real in-person conference. I believe in huge settings like a conference, doing it online is a lot more effective. The smaller the crowd, the more you should think about not having it online. For big companies shifting to a more online environment is a more ideal choice because it cuts costs significantly. This is becoming the norm today: companies moving towards online because there has been a high number of successful companies that have already shifted towards online.
Online can be a business as the case with WoW, or it can already help a business succeed even further/