Online farming earns $83-$415 million a year.


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ninelives

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Oct. 18 issue - K. sits in front of his computers for 12 to 15 hours a day, playing games for a living. He is a scavenger in the kind of online games that involve as many as 200,000 players building or battling in elaborate virtual worlds. His specialty is Lineage, a medieval fantasy game, and he plays seven characters simultaneously on four computers, seeking the spoils—magical swords and the like—that allow victors to move up to higher levels. At 27, he says he couldn't find a normal career out of university, so he turned to this gray-market profession, earning some $4,000 a month winning and selling virtual booty to other players.



Even the fanatic universe of game players is divided about trading virtual goods. The buyers are paying to gain an advantage (a magic weapon or whatever), and many consider this cheating, or just stupid. Often, people are paying real money for play money, a deal no sane person ever made on a Monopoly board. "Selling and buying stuff online through games is just a crazy idea," says Kim Min Ho, a university student. "I don't understand why people do it. There are better ways to waste your money." Others say it's just capitalism at work. Says 27-year-old office worker Kim Ki Woon, "It's great to know that you can earn a little on the side while spending time on your hobby."

While selling virtual goods for real cash is not illegal in Korea, it is against the rules of Lineage, and every other entry in the class of "massive multiple player online games." Some game makers encourage trading of virtual goods between friends, and some even sell their own virtual goods for real cash. But none allow outsiders like K. to take real money out of their virtual worlds. It's not yet clear how the courts or the government in South Korea, or any other nation, will resolve the disputes arising on this border between the virtual and actual worlds. That's one reason why K. won't give his real name.

South Korea is the world's most wired society, a center of the online gaming craze and a main battlefield for disputes over who owns commercial cyberspace. In 2001 the Korean government sided with NCsoft, maker of Lineage, in a dispute over ownership of online goods, but did not go so far as to outlaw trading in such goods. NCsoft has since banned more than 200,000 players for buying and selling virtual goods, but the practice thrives. There are now more than 200 companies in the game, with total yearly revenue officially estimated at between $83 million and $415 million. The largest, ItemBay, has 1.5 million customers and up to $17 million in monthly revenues. As for accusations that these trades abet cheaters, ItemBay manager Chung Sang-Won says, "It is not illegal and we are doing nothing wrong. We're just providing a service people want and need."

Most countries are still struggling to figure out how to enforce property rights online, and for now are leaning toward affirming the right of a game maker to control commerce in its virtual world, says Whang Sang-min, a gaming expert at Yonsei University in Seoul. "Online-game worlds are becoming like the real world, and each country accepts the online world in its own way," Whang says. In China, courts have ruled that because players invest their own time, they own the spoils of their effort—apparently a reflection of the communist principle that labor (not property) is the source of value.

In a way, Korean online-gaming companies brought this mess on themselves. In 1998 they began introducing currencies into their virtual words, and selling those currencies for real cash. Soon everything in the games had a price, and buyers felt entitled to property rights. Recently, the Online Consumers Union sued NCsoft, demanding a right to compensation for damage (say, if a blackout wipes out their winnings).

Other real-world spats follow. South Korea is investigating rumors that organized crime runs rackets in virtual goods. Syracuse University information-studies professor Ian MacInnes says that as online currencies spread, game makers will have to hire economists to control inflation, speculation, the exchange rates between virtual worlds, and someday perhaps even between the virtual and real worlds. "Who's to say that the currency issued by the central bank of Bolivia, say, is that good?" asks MacInnes. "Who's to say an online currency is that bad?" Sounds almost normal, if you put it that way.

Source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6199780/site/newsweek/
 

jbma

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:bigeyes:This is weird. Like that also can make money.
 

reachme2003

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Oct 6, 2003
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is there a typo error as the heading is misleading? farming or gaming?
 

Drudkh

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#9
reno77 said:
My colleague does that too. He runs a few RO bots on his computer in the office.
lol RO is cute man!!! download the server program and play with my friends, tweak the settings and be a warrior in hours! :bsmilie:
 

germ_boi

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i did that before too.. those ppl are dumb man.. as in i sold to them and they were like clamering to buy the characters? but its good.. win-win situation :D

they happy, i happy... besides, i was doing smth i like n i didnt relli feel attached to my character.. so i just sold the acc away... ;p
 

auron

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its really funny when u always hear ppl say "i/my friend managed to sell this or that virtual person". but your hardly or never hear ppl say "i/my friend managed to buy some virtual weapons/items from so and so. :D
 

lovells19

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#13
my friend bought haha USD$50 for a virtual weapon.. and worst the game i play is text based :)

sold my character for USD$250 to a russian. those ppl are rich man..
but farming is time consuming.. took me one year to build the character and the game doesn't allows me to multi play
 

Jun 21, 2004
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#14
try this online + almost-realtime game...


www.hattrick.org

its a soccer management game where you can deal players, train them, win/lose matches and get promotion/demotion etc etc
 

ninelives

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#15
farming is not a typo. It means you keep hiting the mobs(monsters) over and over again coz they will drop golds. With these golds, you can sell to other players.

Some farmers are pay to do so, they farm 9 hrs each day, their employer pay them. The employer will collect the golds they farmed and sell to other player.
 

Witness

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#16
hmmm.....read the article in newsweek.....something interesting in it was peggin the virtual currency to tt of the real world.....now tt's something new....

such is the power of digitisation..
 

noblerot

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we just need to stop those lazy americans from buying :)

i have a farmer friend from China who told me the same story too, he is a fresh grad and cldnt find a job in beijing so he farms on shift :)
 

noblerot

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noblerot said:
we just need to stop those lazy americans from buying :)

i have a farmer friend from China who told me the same story too, he is a fresh grad and cldnt find a job in beijing so he farms on shift :)
anyone on lionna server still ? :)
 

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