Is Gold Farming Really Banned? Confusion Over China's New Virtual Currency Rules

July 1, 2009 -

Earlier this week GamePolitics covered a story by Information Week which reported that new Chinese regulations on virtual currency would outlaw gold farming.

But there appears to be confusion about whether the practice of gathering in-game MMO currency and then re-selling it for real cash will be affected by the new regulations.

incgamers disputes the report, citing the University of Manchester's Prof. Richard Heeks:

This [new Chinese law] therefore is not about what gold farming clients do: use real money to buy these virtual currencies; it’s the mirror image.  And it’s not about the major trade in gold farming such as World of Warcraft, which relates to other types of virtual currency.  And it’s not about buying/selling in-game items.  And it’s not about the power-levelling of avatars. Bottom line: it’s not about gold farming.

In any case, Dean Takahashi of Venture Beat writes, a ban on gold farming may be difficult for Chinese authorities to enforce:

The practice of trading virtual goods for real money is easy to make illegal, but hard to enforce. The gold farmers may not be affected... because of a technicality. Most of China’s gold farmers, who operate in sweatshops with dozens of fellow farmers, operate on servers on foreign soil. The government can only control what goes on with domestic servers...

The New York Times, which did not challenge the notion that the rules would impact gold farming, quoted Indiana University Prof. Edward Castronova, an authority on MMOs. In lauding the Chinese government action, Castonova offered what, to some, may seem like an alarmist view of in-game currency:

This action shows that at least one government is concerned about the way virtual worlds challenge its control of society. As virtual currencies take over more and more purchasing power, control over the effective money supply shifts from the central bank to the game developers.


Comments

Re: Is Gold Farming Really Banned? Confusion Over China's ...

I think they all are missign the point you sell X ammount of Y(whitch can be anything) for Z(real money) so what you do is tax the real money made off of Y.

 


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Re: Is Gold Farming Really Banned? Confusion Over China's ...

I haven't played MMOs in a long, long time but I was under the impression that "Gold Farming" was the act of doing repetetive tasks to earn gold, not just buying it off some vendor. You know, like XP farming.

Is this not the case?

Re: Is Gold Farming Really Banned? Confusion Over China's ...

Actually, the term has pretty much come to represent the mercantile practice of hiring people to play the game, harvest the gold and sell it to other users.

Re: Is Gold Farming Really Banned? Confusion Over China's ...

You pay for the game, you pay for the tech to run the game, you pay the fee to play the game, and now you pay people to play the game.  At least the Wii will play your game for you for free.

 

Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone's feelings.

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Re: Is Gold Farming Really Banned? Confusion Over China's ...

Did you have a point? Ignoring how retarded that comment was (my wii was free? I'm pretty sure my 300$ went to pay for the lense that reads the disk, and the remaining hardware. That's not free), what was your point even if it the statement wasn't so wrong? 

Re: Is Gold Farming Really Banned? Confusion Over China's ...

Sign me up for a Savings AND Checking Account at Bank of (Virtual) America!

Re: Is Gold Farming Really Banned? Confusion Over China's ...

As virtual currencies take over more and more purchasing power, control over the effective money supply shifts from the central bank to the game developers.

Except that virtual currencies aren't money. I can't buy anything with WoW gold outside of WoW, and if I could it would at best be simple bartering. By that logic GM has control over the effective money supply too, because I can trade in cars for real money.

Re: Is Gold Farming Really Banned? Confusion Over China's ...

They do have purchasing power because they have been given a liquid status.  You can sell your gold for money, and can do it easier than selling a car, so it's actually more liquid than an automobile.

 

 

Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone's feelings.

--- With the first link, the chain is forged.
 
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