China bans gold farming

Gold, gil, republic credits, whatever the currency is in your Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, odds are you’ve come across gold farmers.

Gold farmers are typically those characters who have a “board smash” name like “XXyyzzz” and do nothing but fish, or fight rare monsters, or something else that generates a ton of in-game currency. These people then sell the gold they obtain via their playing to other players. Of course, people often sell their gold to the gold farmers as well.

In ever MMO I’ve ever played, this was against the terms of service as it made the game unfair to those who did not have buckets of real world money to use to buy in-game money so they could purchase things like the Lizard Harness Set +1.

The majority of the farmers are in Asia, mostly Korea. However, according to Information Week, China has banned gold farming.

“Since 2007, virtual money trading has drawn official attention, with the government demanding tighter controls as such trading became an avenue for gambling and illicit trade.

Under the new rules, using virtual money for gambling will be punished by public security authorities, and minors may not buy virtual money.

The Ministry of Culture also vowed to step up supervision on money laundering via virtual credits and other illegal online activities.” – From the press release issued by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.

Information week article

Ministry of Commerce press release.

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2 Responses to “China bans gold farming”

  1. Richard Heeks Says:

    The interpretation that the new regulation is about gold farming has spread like wildfire. Unfortunately, it is not correct – the regulation is about the Chinese government staying in control of currency movements within the country. It’s not targetted at gold farming, and unlikely to have much of an impact on gold farming.

    More details at the ICTs for Development blog: http://ict4dblog.wordpress.com/2009/07/01/china-bans-gold-farming-er-but-in-fact-it-hasnt/

  2. Bradley Hall Says:

    Ah, okay. I read your explanation and it actually makes a good deal more sense that they’d do that and not ban a $1 billion industry. I figured that even if they banned gold farming, it would have little effect, just as you surmised as well.

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