SNEAK PEEK #5: Video Games Can Make You Rich!

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Ready for another sneak peek from the all-new 10 Issue? This one comes straight from our piece 10 Amazing Ways Video Games Can Change Your Life. The stories in the piece are pretty incredible-- from doctors who play video games and why they make better surgeons to people who've used video games to fall in love. But perhaps the strangest story to me was the one below, about how video games can help line your wallet.

They Can Make You Crazy Rich

Screen shot 2010-02-28 at 6.21.30 AMThere's money to be made playing video games. In the late 1990s, game makers introduced online role-playing games in which thousands, or even millions, of online players could vanquish monsters and hunt for treasure while inhabiting the same world. In games such as World of Warcraft and TK, these players were even encouraged to interact with one another. For instance, they could collect the gold coins scattered throughout the worlds, and trade them with other players for more powerful weapons, armor, and equipment. What's surprising, however, is that this virtual market made a very quick leap to the real world when users realized that they could sell their make-believe valuables on Ebay and turn a profit. The system is known as gold-farming, and it can be quite lucrative. In 2008, one analyst estimated that gold farming was a billion-dollar industry, employing some 400,000 people worldwide. In China, where 80 to 85 percent of gold farmers reside, companies pay gamers low wages to work 10 hour shifts in sweatshop conditions. The firms even have call centers set up to handle international clients, with each operator handling nearly 100 calls a day. While the system has vexed video game companies, they aren't the only ones irritated by the emerging market. In Asia, gold farming has become so prevalent that governments are stepping in to regulate the practice. Both the Chinese and Japanese governments have enforced laws concerning virtual currencies due to the growing number of scams and fraudulent acts taking place in gold farming communities.

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Of course, that's just one of the video game tales we're covering. You can pick up the new 10 issue on newsstands tomorrow. Or better yet, why not make our editors happy and order a subscription right here?

March 1, 2010 - 2:30am
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