Gold farming could help poor countries

Gold farming and trade of in-game MMO items is a $3 billion industry, according to a new World Bank study. That wealth is produced by 100,000 people, mostly in China and Vietnam. The study also claimed that gold farming, which accounts for 75% of all virtual goods sold, and item selling could help improve conditions in poor countries.

While $3 billion isn’t much in the grand scheme of the global economy, the payment structure of most virtual item farms is surprisingly equitable to the individual farmers. In a typical transaction cited by the study, over 95% of the cash reaches the country where farming is occurring; 45% of that reaches the individual farm and 23% of each dollar sold reaches the individual farmer who collected the item or gold. Compare that to the $70 billion-a-year coffee industry, which only sends back $5.5 billion annually to the countries that farm the beans, and an ever smaller amount reaching individual farms and farmers.

30% of the gold farming is being done by humans working in shifts and manually controlling a character, while 50% come from bots. Stolen and hacked accounts make up the remaining 20%. The study only takes into account the kinds of transactions done through third party suppliers and farmers, not micro-transactions built into games.

[Source: infoDev via BBC]

Apr 11, 2011

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  • Sinosaur - April 12, 2011 4:09 a.m.

    This story is very officially on the 'buh?' page. I'm somewhat surprised that the World Bank did a study on this sort of thing and that it's given in a positive light. I'm not actually the least bit surprised that actual farmers get stiffed far more than virtual farmers, though.
  • mattrickhoffman - April 11, 2011 8:24 p.m.

    Yes, illegal activities could also improve my own economic standing. Doesn't mean it's a good thing to do.
  • Lucretiel - April 11, 2011 7:29 p.m.

    It's like saying "printing other countries' money could help local economies." Well, technically, yes, but... Unrelated: What the f*ck is this sh*t:
  • SideOfBeef - April 11, 2011 6:09 p.m.

    Well that's.... a thing. I guess it's nice for the poor to be a bit less poor, I'd prefer if that wasn't being ripped out of the pockets of legitimate developers and consumers. Crime generally isn't something to build an economy on.

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