Bad news for professional orcs all across the Middle Kingdom. On Monday, the Chinese government announced a ban on the conversion of virtual money into real money for the purpose of buying actual goods and services. By allowing Chinese citizens to spend real money on virtual products, but not vice versa, the government has specifically targeted gold farming, an activity that employs hundreds of thousands of Chinese workers.
As a newly minted WoW-head (that's World of Warcraft for you noobs), I've always wondered just how all those "gold farmers" who try to sell virtual gold within in the game came by their vast, ill-gotten riches. I'd heard rumors of sweatshops in China where people are forced to drink Mountain Dew and kill Fel Orcs for 16 hours straight, but that sounded too strange to be true -- and, at the same time, not too different from the average college dormitory.
Massively multiplayer online role playing games may be massively more addictive than the games that came before
By John Brandon
Posted 08.08.2008 at 1:19 pm 21 Comments
In a famous scene in the first Matrix movie, a character takes a bite out of a juicy steak. He knows it's not real, but enjoys it anyway. In some ways, a video game -- just moving pixels on the screen -- is a similar virtual reality experience. No, the aliens in Halo 3 are not real, but we pretend they are. That is how a game can pull you from a living-room couch into a foreign realm.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.