In the face of proposed legislation in South Korea banning the trading of virtual currencies in online role-playing games for real currency, the gold farmers of South Korea have formed the Digital Asset Distribution Promotion Association, a lobbying group dedicated to representing the Gold Farming communities of South Korea. For those who do not know, affluent players of MMORPGs can pay to have large amounts of resources that would take hours upon hours to gather in a game given to them for what is really a nominal amount of real money. For example, it would take way over twenty hours of play to accumulate 200 gold, but you can buy it for about $40. As someone with not too much time, I thought about using one of these services to just make the casual gaming experience more enjoyable. For an economic standpoint, I would much rather pay someone the equivalent of a few dollars an hour, than sit at my computer killing the same group of enemies over and over to gain gold. Apparently, many out there agree with me, and the gold farming industry is big enough in South Korea (the highest percentage of gamers per capita in the world) to have its own political lobbying group.
Farmers Lobby for Open Markets
While I know the game industry does not like the farmers, I wonder what power the government has to regulate these games? Is there any harm caused? The SK's item trade industry has ballooned to over $1 billion a year! Will this legislation affect that? I do not see any reason for the government to step in. It is like the US government's involvement with steroids in baseball: sure, the game's purity matters, and it sounds like MMORPGs are just about the national pasttime of South Korea, but still, it is just a game. Does South Korea not want its youth looking up to those players who abuse the system to get ahead? No. They want their youth to look up to Hines Ward, who, like every other pro football player, would never cheat or take an illegal substance to get ahea...oh wait...hmm.