December 15, 2005
Written by C.N.
First, Americans outsourced manufacturing and factory jobs overseas to countries like Mexico and China. Then in recent years, Americans have increasingly outsourced white-collar professional jobs like customer service, computer programming, and engineering to China, Indian, the Philippines, etc. Now here’s the latest trend: the New York Times reports that affluent Americans who are also video game enthusiasts but who don’t have the time are now outsourcing video game playing to the Chinese:
The people working at this clandestine locale are “gold farmers.” They “play” computer games by killing onscreen monsters and winning battles, harvesting artificial gold coins and other virtual goods as rewards that can be transformed into real cash. From Seoul to San Francisco, affluent online gamers who lack the time and patience to work their way up to the higher levels of gamedom are willing to pay the young Chinese here to play the early rounds for them. . . . .
Many online gaming factories have come to resemble the thousands of textile mills and toy factories that have moved here from Taiwan, Hong Kong and other parts of the world to take advantage of China’s vast pool of cheap labor.
On eBay, for example, 100 grams of World of Warcraft gold is available for $9.99 or two über characters from EverQuest for $35.50. It costs $269 to be transported to Level 60 in Warcraft, and it typically takes 15 days to get the account back at the higher level. In fact, the trading of virtual property is so lucrative that some big online gaming companies have jumped into the business, creating their own online marketplaces.
Capitalism’s relentless march goes on and on. Not only are Americans willing to outsource their work, but now they’re apparently willing to outsource their leisure as well by paying foreigners to play video games for them. I wonder if Jay Leno would use one of his “How fat and lazy are we getting in America when we have to outsource your video game playing overseas?” jokes here, since it certainly applies.
It just makes me wonder what’s next in line to be outsourced — playing online poker? Skiing? Bungee jumping? Life???
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Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Outsourcing Video Game Playing to China" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2005/12/outsourcing-video-game-playing-to-china/> ().
Short URL: http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/?p=182