Recent news has pointed out that gold farming in China has become a $500m industry.
Blizzard should be ashamed.
We have many challenges in the world today. Entertaining people (as Blizzard does with their main products) is a worthwhile activity for a business. Hard-working people do need it, and even though there are some extreme cases of “entertainment abuse” (similar, in many ways, to drugs abuse), the abuses of the few should not limit the many from enjoying a perfectly healthy, if somewhat fruitless, activity.
However, gold farming is not entertainment. Gold farming is an entirely sterile activity. It produces nothing other than a transfer of wealth from one part of the world to another. The “gold” that is being farmed is purely artificial. It represents no value creation whatsoever. It is merely a symbol of time that has been wasted on a pursuit that is designed to be entertaining. Each piece of gold farmed represents a small amount of wasted productivity for the human race. In aggregate, the $500m gold farming industry represents $500m of wasted human productivity.
Moreover, Blizzard could very easily stop this trade, by creating an official gold market where people can exchange dollars for gold. There would still remain some market for rare items, but those are necessarily less fungible than gold coins, and so would at least greatly decrease the $500m black hole.
If anything, Blizzard should see its own self-interest here: if it can get even a 10% slice of this $500m market (and there’s little reason to think that it couldn’t get 100%), that would represent $50m - not an amount to be sneered at. From a business sense, Blizzard should be ashamed not to have opened up a gold market yet.
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