Play Money by Julian Dibbell delves into the illicit world of gold farming and gray gaming. Being somewhat of an MMORPG addict, I find the selling of virtual properties a bit ridiculous. There are people that spend a lot of their time farming (repetitively killing monsters for the items they drop) to sell the items for real world cash.
Some video game companies (such as Blizzard, the company behind World of Warcraft) are against people taking advantage of making money off of their virtual economies. People sell the ingame currency and items for real world dollars. This throws off the in-game economy as people that haven’t earned items, characters and gold use real money to get ahead in the game. This is a form of cheating as the entire game is about earning and exploring on your own, not paying someone else to make your character better. The real world equivalent of this would be paying someone to do your homework; you aren’t actually doing the work, but you’re earning the degree.
It’s being lazy more than anything. I don’t like the idea that people buy their way into the top (which could be argued as hypocritical, as I’m going to grad school). Games are meant to be fun. There is no reward in paying someone else to make you a great character in World of Warcraft; the whole point of the game is to play. Its a GAME, not real life. Either play because its fun or don’t play at all. What’s the point of having someone play your game for you? Clearly an MMORPG isn’t for you; find a different genre and stick to it.
I think that virtual goods are a stupid idea. There is no reason anyone should pay cash for a free item (paying for entertainment is one thing, paying for non-existent items is beyond me). I dislike the idea of Microsoft points in the Xbox marketplace and I don’t like the idea of having to pay for second life dollars and real estate. I’m going to start selling plots on the moon, any takers?