Play Money: Or, How I Quit My Day Job and Made Millions Trading Virtual Loot
by Julian Dibbell
This book came out a few years ago. I would recommend it to any online gamer. Not only is is very interesting, but it is a great look into the world of gold sellers, chinese farmers, gamer widows, etc. This book was a super fast read as it is one of few books written by a gamer for gamers, without being non-fiction.
Filled with genuine ethical dilemmas and questions about virtual sweatshops and economic justice, Play Money probes the ever more hazy line between gameworld and society, giving a fascinating insight into the peculiar promise of the technologies that increasingly shape the culture we are building, as production melts into play." The Guardian --The Guardian
Play Money explores the remarkable new phenomenon of MMORPGs, or Massively MultiPlayer Online Role-Playing Games, in which hundreds of thousands of players operate fantasy characters in virtual environments. With city-sized populations, these games generate their own cultures, governments, and social systems and, inevitably, their own economies, which spill over into the real world. The desire for virtual goods-magic swords, enchanted breastplates, and special, hard-to-get elixirs-has spawned a cottage industry of virtual loot farmers: people who play the games just to obtain fantasy goods that they can sell in the real world. The best loot farmers can make between six figures a year and six figures a month. Play Money is an extended walk on the weird side: a vivid snapshot of a subculture whose denizens were once the stuff of mere sociological spectacle but now-with computer gaming poised to eclipse all otherentertainments in dollar volume, and with the lines between play and work, virtual and real increasingly blurred-look more and more like the future.