Lately everyone has been focused on Second Life and how this virtual world can create results here in the real world. I read an interesting article today that takes the virtual and real world interaction to a new level.
A new breed of sweatshop has recently emerged in Asia. Workers play online games like World of Warcraft for hours on end to gather virtual in-game content and create high level characters that can be sold for real world cash on sites like eBay. The buyers are affluent online gamers who lack the time or patience to work their way up to the higher levels are willing to pay to have other people play the early rounds for them. This is a growing trend because these gamers pay big money as characters easily run into the thousands of dollars for high level characters. Gaming companies have now started to outlaw these behaviors and Blizzard, the company who create World of Warcraft, recently banned over 300 accounts which were purchased online.
For me it is fascinating that an entire industry has been created because American teenagers and gamers have decided that even having to work at anything, even if it is something fun like a video game is too much to ask.