Selling Virtual Game Winnings: a $3 Billion Industry

Businesses in Asia have created a $3 billion industry by paying employees to spend their days playing videogames and selling the virtual loot to other gamers, according to the World Bank.

Through a technique known as “gold farming,” players sit at rows of computers, and the businesses pay them to play, gathering virtual goods that can be sold later. Another part of the $3 billion market involves something called “powerleveling,” in which people manually play games for others to enable them to pass through levels more quickly. The practice started when individuals began selling in-game goods through markets like eBay and has now expanded into the real business described in a Thursday report by the World Bank Group’s infoDev program.

The report says half of “gold farms” are now automated–run by programming a computer to play the game. Others still use actual players, and about 20 percent aren’t farms so much as theft rings, in which hacker groups steal goods from other players and sell them, the report says.

Read the rest of this post on the original site


Must-Reads from other Websites

Panos Mourdoukoutas

Why Apple Should Buy China’s Xiaomi

Paul Graham

What I Didn’t Say

Benjamin Bratton

We Need to Talk About TED

Mat Honan

I, Glasshole: My Year With Google Glass

Chris Ware

All Together Now

Corey S. Powell and Laurie Gwen Shapiro

The Sculpture on the Moon

About Voices

Along with original content and posts from across the Dow Jones network, this section of AllThingsD includes Must-Reads From Other Websites — pieces we’ve read, discussions we’ve followed, stuff we like. Six posts from external sites are included here each weekday, but we only run the headlines. We link to the original sites for the rest. These posts are explicitly labeled, so it’s clear that the content comes from other websites, and for clarity’s sake, all outside posts run against a pink background.

We also solicit original full-length posts and accept some unsolicited submissions.

Read more »