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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Prison Labor For World of Warcraft

This is gold farming outside of a prison... this would look like heaven to Chinese prisoners, no doubt.
If you've stooped to buying gold from a gold farmer to pad your World of Warcraft account, you may have felt that you were just a casual lawbreaker... not really hurting anyone. Well, think again. This article in the UK's Guardian newspaper reveals that some Chinese prisoners are forced to sit in front a computer 12 hours a day and fight dragons in WoW. If they don't meet their gold quota, they are beaten by the guards. The operation would bring in thousands of dollars for the prison administration.

Aside from the beatings, being forced to play WoW all day sounds like my son's ideal existence.

Hey, maybe this is the solution to California's prison problem... don't just release the 30,000 prisoners the Supreme Court has ordered you to let go, send them home to work off the rest of their sentence farming gold to help fill California's budget gap.

More seriously, though, it's appalling that this is what passes for government in China. It makes you wonder if they'll ever go legitimate... seems like it's just like Michael Corleone promising Kay the family will be completely legitimate in five years. Sure, and the Chinese government will really crack down on copyright, trademark and patent infringement real soon now. Uh huh.

It does raise issues of exportation of goods produced by forced labor... and now it's apparent it's virtual goods, too, that can be produced by forced labor. One more item to add to trade talks, I suppose. I do wonder how much the unlevel playing field in China benefits the fast-growing Chinese game companies, which are now beginning to purchase Western game companies. Funny how Western companies seem to have a lot more difficulty buying Chinese companies... and non-Chinese game consoles are banned.

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