Friday, December 09, 2005

New frontiers in outsourcing 

Well, you wouldn't have to outsource Pong, I guess, but this might be the only way Hewitt ever gets through Halo 2.
One of China's newest factories operates here in the basement of an old warehouse. Posters of World of Warcraft and Magic Land hang above a corps of young people glued to their computer screens, pounding away at their keyboards in the latest hustle for money.

The people working at this clandestine locale are "gold farmers." Every day, in 12-hour shifts, they "play" computer games by killing onscreen monsters and winning battles, harvesting artificial gold coins and other virtual goods as rewards that, as it turns out, can be transformed into real cash.

That is because, from Seoul to San Francisco, affluent online gamers who lack the time and patience to work their way up to the higher levels of gamedom are willing to pay the young Chinese here to play the early rounds for them.
Hmmm, farmers? Is this subject to the Common Agricultural Policy rules of the EU? I'm just imagining the placards held up at the next anti-globalization protest. Your offerings, please, in the comments.