Posts Tagged ‘China’

Chinese prisoners sentenced to WoW gold farming

Friday, May 27th, 2011

We want zee gold, Lebowski! Give us zee gold or we f**ks you up!

(Yahoo) – Rocks by day, gold by night. After a day of grueling physical labor, inmates in Chinese prisons would be forced to engage in 12-hour sessions of online gaming to rack up credits. This was the work cycle for many Chinese prisoners in years past, the Guardian is reporting.

The virtual work environment proved to be a perplexing part of daily life for many inmates. The prison guards invested a lot of time and energy into making sure the prisoners met quotas for faux currencies, which the guards later traded for real world money.

The Guardian told the story of Liu Dali (a pseudonym) who was imprisoned for three years from 2004 to 2007. “If I couldn’t meet my work quota, they would punish me physically,” he said. The trade of gold for cash was widespread in Chinese prisons because of how lucrative it is.

“Gold farming” is the moniker for this business. There are scores of gamers across the globe that would pay real money for game currency just so they could progress in the game. World of Warcraft was one of many games the inmates had to trudge through to accrue certain amounts of online cash.

Gold farming, however, is not relegated to prison inmates. This is a job for some people, and there are gamers who would pay good money for fake money. For Liu Dali and his comrades in shackles, as the Guardian reported, none of their virtual labor translated into profit for them.

This, of course, is not what game makers intended. The practice of gold farming, however, is not an easy thing to regulate. Virtual currency translating into real world profits is a relatively recent thing, and since it does not exist in a physical space, it is very easy to manipulate.

While Liu Dali may no longer be in prison, his fear that this practice still exists could very well be true. Gold farming puts policy makers into an integral position as the forced 12-hour sessions can be physically, mentally, and emotionally taxing.

Google closing the door on China?

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Google may make good on its threat to leave China should the most recent negotiations with the government fall through

Anyone who may listen to the “Week in Geek” show I do each Friday morning would be able to tell you how often I mention the words “China” and “Google” each time the show airs.  The ongoing battle between China and its censorship guidelines and Google with their ongoing frustration in dealing with China’s empirical choke hold on what information is allowed through the web giant’s site makes for soap opera type drama.  And while I may make light of the situation, it is quickly becoming anything but a laughing matter.

Google continues to hold its ground in talks with China in regards to filtering (read “censoring”) search results through the site.  Recent months have seen the clashes between Google and China reach the point where Google has determined that it may be best to pull out of the China market rather than continue to attempt to comply with the restrictions put in place by the Chinese government.  And recent days have seen activity that may suggest that Google plans to make good on the threat.

While the retreat of Google from China may not mean much of an impact to the coffers of the search company, several burgeoning industries in China may be negatively impacted should the pullout come to fruition.  The Android based phone business may not be completely shut down by a lack of a local Google presence but it is certain that the devices would be severely limited in their functions as China restricts access to sites external to the country.  In addition, China Mobile Ltd., the largest phone company in China and perhaps the world, relies on the search giant for mobile searches and maps.

Analysts have described the withdraw of Google from China as a “lose-lose” scenario as the country would not see another company move in to take Google’s place but rather a vacuum.  And at a 35% share of the search market is a sizable vacuum.

Spokespersons for Google have stated that the company remains in negotiations with China and would not confirm that they would be withdrawing should those negotiations fail.

Gritskrieg – End of Line