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Farming in a virtual future

World of Warcraft Trading Card Game
Image via Wikipedia

China is seeing the rise of online “Gold Farming”

This is the practice of hiring a group of mainly poor kids to ply their way through the myriad of online games (Everquake, World of Warcraft et al) collecting things of value to other gamers such as gold, potions, weapons etc. These items are then traded, via a broker, for real money to players that really can’t be arsed to go collecting or alternatively want to short-cut the tedious lower levers of these games.

The online gaming community really don’t like these “gold farmers” and tend to hound them pretty hard and even kill them (virtually) if the game allows it.

It’s quite a step to think that an online game has such a black economy, especially as most games are not actively policed that hard and rely on crowd-policing to deal with problems.

So what’s this got to do with the commercial world?

At the moment very little except to say that this is an example of entrepreneurship in terms of brokering items of value. As we start to see the rise of proper interconnected social networks who’s to say that “information farmers” cannot carve out their place in the information economy.

The more we live our life in public the more this information is freely available but time consuming to acquire.

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