Gold buying is one of those aspects of MMO culture that is seemingly universally denounced, yet enough people partake in the practice to keep the wheels of this grey market activity going. Scott Hartsman may be saying the obvious when he denounced gold farming and selling to Gamasutra, but apparently it is still something we need to hear.
The Trion Worlds general manager shared a glimpse of just how hard these activities hit games, and how concerned he and other studio execs are about the proliferation of credit card fraud that results: "It's those kinds of things where people laugh and go, 'Oh, that never happens.' No. It happens. It happens a s**tload. To the point where, over the last three or four years, I would dare anybody to ask an exec at a gaming company how much they've had to pay in MasterCard and Visa fines, because of fraud. It happens a lot."
According to Hartsman, the more these events take place, the more money studios spend on paying fines and dealing with them instead of reinvesting funds into the games themselves -- all because of the "jerks" perpetuating the crimes.