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 to play the early rounds for them. These “gold farmers” work every day, in 12-hour shifts, playing computer games to harvest gold coins and other virtual goods that can be transformed into real cash.
Players around the world can trade the virtual currency to other players, who can use it to buy better armor, amulets, magic spells and other accoutrements to climb to higher levels or create more powerful characters.
The Internet is now filled with classified advertisements from small companies auctioning for real money their powerful avatars.
By some estimates, there are well over 100,000 young people working in China as full-time gamers. They have strict quotas and are supervised by bosses who equip them with computers, software and Internet connections.
“We prefer to hire young migrant workers rather than college students. The pay is not good for students, but it is quite attractive to the young migrants from the countryside,” said Wei Xiaoliang who focuses his business on wholesaling Warcraft gold to overseas brokers.
Via International Herald Tribune.
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