Leveling up your country

Although the practice of earning in-game money to sell for real cash (gold farming) has been virtually ignored by economists and academics studying business development, real­world gold mining in Ghana employs fewer people than in-game gold farming does. This is one of the many mind-blowing observations delivered in a recent study on gold farming by Richard Heeks of Manchester University in the United Kingdom, covering its development as an industry and its role in developing countries.

Above: Gold farming - it’s where the money is in some developing nations

In his study, Heeks argues that gold farming “does not merely substitute one form of employment for another, but has in places reduced the number of unemployed,” citing research that has found unemployed Chinese gang members were obtaining work at gold farms. Additionally, because gold farming requires broadband-connected PCs, the industry has become an easy, albeit small-scale method for developing nations to promote the growth of their high-tech infrastructure.

It remains a terrible thing for gaming, and violates the terms of service for almost every major MMORPG, but at least now we know it’s doing someone, somewhere, some good. Read the full report here.

Above: This map shows reported locations of gold farming (red represents normal exporting farmers, while lined dots only supply locally)

Nov 12, 2008


  • operation_M.A.T.T. - November 14, 2008 1:43 a.m.

    WOOT I BET THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN COOL IF I GAVE A S**T jk it was uperb in boring way
  • GoldenMe - November 13, 2008 5:11 a.m.

    Failed article has most of the other ones like this one. Ima playing on consoles!!!
  • crazyshemai - November 13, 2008 12:58 a.m.

    lol ive heard of chinese gold farmers, just ddnt knw there were other places doing it as well
  • TheSuburbiaRuins - November 13, 2008 12:08 a.m.

    I know what gold farming is, But this is terribly explained
  • CuddlyBomber - November 12, 2008 11:17 p.m.

    Ummm what?
  • Nintengeek750 - November 13, 2008 3:13 a.m.

    Wha!? that made almost no sense and the hyperlink article is to long.
  • jimsondanet - November 13, 2008 12:09 a.m.

    to much wealth is accumulated by to few people its a sick joke i dont realy care for the negatives this has for online gaming and this should be facilitated and balanced instead of supressed

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