Have you heard of World of Warcraft? It is a "massively multiplayer online role-playing game" (ahem, MMORPG) played over the Internet simultaneously by millions of people. The more you play, the more powers and weapons and so forth you accumulate (assuming you are not entirely incompetent). But what if you don't have enough time to do that? Wouldn't it be "great" (assuming you find anything about losing yourself in videogames to be "great") if you could simply buy these powers and weapons?
The maker of the World of Warcraft does not allow you to do this, so of course a "black market" arose to fill the need. Here's the quote from Wired magazine about this:
"Internet Gaming Entertainment, or IGE, made hundreds of millions of dollars as middleman for Western gamers eager to outsource the boring aspects of play to low-wage third worlders. The people who founded the company realized that scarcity of time and scarcity of virtual resources created a whole new market."
"Despite the game companies' widespread prohibition of such transactions, their number has grown to support an estimated $2 billion annual trade, a half dozen multimillion-dollar online retail businesses, and an enormous Chinese workforce earning 30 cents an hour playing MMOs and harvesting treasure to supply the major retailers."
Now that is a very odd job: sitting around and playing videogames specifically to accumulate "treasure" that can then be sold to people who are able to attach a greater value to their lives than the "enormous Chinese workforce."
We live in a very strange world. For the full article: