All eyes are on Chinese gold farmers this week, following a news report in the New York Times by Julian Dibbell. In his previously released book "Play Money" the author already shared his personal experience as a seller of Ultima Online gold. In the NYT Dibbell exposes the life of Li Qiwen and other Chinese gold farmers who work twelve hours a night and seven nights a week. This article is one of the best detailed and most vivid description of a gold farmer`s life.
Another interesting resource on this topic s Ge Jin`s research from May 2006. During his field research, he went to investigate four gold farms in China which ran 24/7 with two shifts of workers. Both, Julian and Ge observed a similar atmosphere of strange enjoyment by the farmers even though their jobs were considered to be in a "sweat shop" environment. For most people making merely US$40 to US$200 per month is little, but for the farmers this is just enough to make a living in China. Ge Jin`s next plan is to make a full feature documentary on this topic.
Coming up later this week is the Virtual Goods Summit 2007. The conference will be held at Stanford University on June 22. Veterans and experts in the RMT industry will discuss the virtual economy and its impact. Dan Kelly from Sparter and the panel will focus on how the virtual goods are going to be the next big business model. Brock Pierce of Affinity Media (former owner of IGE) will be sharing his lessons learned and what it takes to succeed in the virtual economy. Register here to be a part of this conference.