From the “you can’t make this stuff up” department: China’s labor camp prisoners are forced to play video games to earn credit points and virtual goods that the prison guards later redeem for real money. Now, it may sound like fun to slay goblins and demons while serving your time, it is quite the opposite. You do your “gold farming” at night, and during the daytime you still have to dig tranches, break rocks, and whatever other things are to do in the coal mines. When the prisoners weren’t earning enough money, they were beaten for real, unlike the way a dragon destroys your virtual hero in a game.
So when a Western gamer buys a cool sword in the World of Warcraft, chances are high that she’s buying a result of a prison labor. That’s because there are 100,000 estimated full-time gold farmers in China, with most of them being prisoners. These 100,000 are about 80% of the total WoW gold farmers in the world.
I wonder if they already started making the prisoners play on-line poker or run Nigerian scam schemes?