Gold Farming: What’s it like to actually do it for a living?

Turns it out it’s not all that fun to be playing video games for a living, contrary to what many people might think.  Julian Dibbell wrote a fascinating article interviewing and describing life in Chinese gold farms for the New York Times.  I was particularly interested in the parallel between gold farming and other systematized industrial work (i.e. working in a factory).  Lisa Nakamura mentions Dibbell’s article briefly in her essay, so I’m sharing this for anyone interested in learning more!

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/17/magazine/17lootfarmers-t.html?pagewanted=all#

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One Response to Gold Farming: What’s it like to actually do it for a living?

  1. useltime says:

    I want to start by saying that hadn’t the slightest clue of how extreme gold farming in China really was. After the initial sense of being overwhelmingly appalled, I thought about the game I viewed as fun to play this semester. Upon recalling when I played the game, I came to the conclusion that I played when I was bored or had some time to kill (as i found leveling up rather simple and not overly time consuming). Having listened to other members in the class state their displeasure in being forced to reach a certain level I saw the possibility of an “annoyance” with playing the game in that it appeared to them as “work.” As brought up in class the game can be great fun when the gamer can start and stop whenever they wish. When one loses that freedom of having control over when the game is played, the game turns into a chore rather than a source of entertainment. Aside from the abysmal wage that Li made and the terrible hours he worked (yes that is bad enough) he also had to do the same repetitive motion over and over day in and day out. Not only was his freedom of when he could play taken away, but so too was the beauty of the game- that you can literally go and do anything in the massive world of Azeroth with anyone at any time. I conclude by suggesting that limitations to play is what turns play into work. Being paid to do what you want for twelve hours a day is play, being told how to do it becomes work.

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