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Chinese gold farmers documented

Vladimir Cole

This six-minute video is a teaser for an upcoming documentary that examines the practice of hiring low-cost Chinese labor to farm virtual goods for sale in richer nations. It's the new new sweatshop.

More affluent nations have always outsourced their drudgery, and games that are full of such menial labor are susceptible to the same outsourcing movement that's swept through other industries. It makes sense that well-to-do gamers will outsource repetitive, mindless work. A professional who makes the equivalent of $50 per hour (about $100,000 per year) would be foolish not to spend $10 per hour to skip the boring parts of World of Warcraft. He's got better things to do with his time.

The trouble is, outsourcing tends to result in the online replication of the real-world divide between rich and poor. Is it fair that rich people are allowed to skip the low-level gruntwork while poor gamers must suffer through it? Whatever happened to the egalitarian ideal that makes places like World of Warcraft so appealing? Whatever the case, don't blame the customers, and don't blame the Chinese. Blame Blizzard. And Canada.

[Thanks, Probot and WoWInsider]

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