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Doctorow Novel Comes True? Answered

In "For the Win", Cory Doctorow wrote about an exploitative on-line world where third-world sweatshops ran through online games to earn treasures to sell to Western gamers.  These people were known as "gold farmers".

Guess what?

Up to 100,000 people in China and Vietnam are playing online games to gather gold and other items for sale to Western players, a report suggests.

The global market for such virtual game goods is worth at least $3bn (£1.8bn) the World Bank study estimates.

About 75% of that comes from so-called "gold farmers" who stockpile game currencies to sell on later.

However,

Encouraging these in-game services could aid development in many poorer countries, said the report.

The high proportion of money from such sales that reaches those in the country where the work was done [23% to the individual] might mean that it could aid development in many nations, said the report which was co-commissioned by the World Bank and development organisation InfoDev.



Source: BBC

8 Replies

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canida (author)2011-04-08

I think the order of operations is reversed here - gold farming was going on before Cory's FTW. He just wrote a novel about it. ;)

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Kiteman (author)canida2011-04-08

But was it such a big business back then?

Re-post - the first version disappeared.

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kelseymh (author)Kiteman2011-04-11

Christy is right, by nearly a decade. "Gold farming" was first noted in the Western media in 2001 (see the Wikipedia article, footnote 8). Doctorow published FTW in May 2010. He merely capitalized on an existing situation, rather than predicting its development.

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canida (author)Kiteman2011-04-08

Not sure - it's hard to tell the difference between big and well-publicized in a case like this.

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killerjackalope (author)2011-04-08

I really enjoyed some of the concepts in it and yeah, it's kind of looking that way...

I fancy featuring this - whadya reckon?

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Kiteman (author)killerjackalope2011-04-08

Feel free - it would be bad form to do it myself.

Doctorow is rather popular with Makers.

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killerjackalope (author)Kiteman2011-04-08

Obviously, and he is - just wondered...

Maybe we'll see Makers realized some day, whether that'd be good or bad who knows?

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jeff-o (author)killerjackalope2011-04-11

Not 'till we have a better forum to sell our creations than Etsy.

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