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 Poor earning virtual gaming gold

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Date posted: 03/09/2008

Nearly 500,000 people in developing nations earn a wage making virtual goods in online games to sell to players, a study by Manchester University has found.

The industry, about 80% based in China, employs about 400,000 people who earn ?77 ($40us) per month on average.

Professor Richard Heeks, head of the development informatics group at Manchester who wrote the report, said gold farming had become a significant economic sector in many developing nations.

"I initially became aware of gold farming through my own games-playing but assumed it was just a cottage industry," said Professor Richard Heeks from the University of Manchester who wrote the report.

"In a way that is still true. It's just that instead of a few dozen cottages, there turn out to be tens of thousands."

Prof Heeks suspects gold-farming might be an early example of the "virtual offshoring" likely to become more prevalent as people spend more time working and playing in cyberspace.

"It is also a glimpse into the digital underworld," he said. "Or at least the edges of a digital underworld populated by scammers and hackers and pornographers and which has spread to the "Third World" far more than we typically realise."

See the full Story via external site: news.bbc.co.uk



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