May 26, 2011

[Goldfarming: Cruel and Unusual Punishment]

I was aware that the Chinese prison system was known for some shady practices, but this is something else: the new 'hard labor' in many Chinese prisons is virtual, not physical.
“Prison bosses made more money forcing inmates to play games than they do forcing people to do manual labour,” Liu told the Guardian. “There were 300 prisoners forced to play games. We worked 12-hour shifts in the camp. I heard them say they could earn 5,000-6,000rmb [£470-570] a day. We didn’t see any of the money. The computers were never turned off.”
It goes to show just how much money is tied up in RMT for games... and the more I learn about the infamous 'Chinese Gold Farmer' the less I resent them and the more I feel sorry for them. It seems like many are people just trying to pay their bills and put food on the table, if not outright forced to farm games for hours a day against their will. It's hard to demonize these people once you realize there are real human stories on the other side of the screen. In a way, people who pay for these goldfarming services are not simply cheating at a computer game, they may also be contributing to the exploitation of other human beings. If anything, it goes to prove that gamers should care about where their virtual goods and services are coming from.

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