dollars!Ebay has recently banned the selling of online game characters, the government of South Korea are in the process of drafting a law which prohibits the selling of in-game items and Blizzard has been banning hundreds of thousands of players each month guilty of gold farming/trading. These are just a few actions being taken to thwart an alleged million dollar business of selling virtual assets found in the multitude of online games.

The gamer in me heartily applauds these efforts.

The practice of farming and reselling of virtual goods can potentially ruin any good gaming experiences. In World of Warcraft for example, the prices of items crafted or farmed by ordinary players would have astronomical price tags that the only way you can afford it is to use real money to buy virtual gold to be used in game. For other online games, the effects are so much more dire as real money can give other players a very unfair advantage inside the game world.

A lot of sources have said that these virtual gold farmers are usually based in China. I tend to think this is true as I have seen countless photos and videos of Chinese people who are inside a dirty, smoke filled room, playing online games all day. It’s not a pleasant sight. I’ve even managed to chat with a number of Chinese gold farmers in World of Warcraft. I chatted with them using Mandarin, they can barely comprehend the English language, and I’ve found them to be nice people, they just do what they have to do to earn money so they then buy food and a few small luxuries.

Now imagine; what if the world’s government and other private businesses like ebay manage to successfully shut down this “business”? The people who works full time as virtual goods farmer will now be out of the job, God knows where they’ll end up.

I play games for fun, they play games to survive. Would it be so bad to just let them be?