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UK-sponsored research recommends encouraging gold farmers and third-world NPCs

By on April 11, 2011

I never thought I’d write this.


A report from the World Bank, part-funded by the UK government Department for International Development, applauds the growth of gold-farmers (which they estimate take 75% of the $3 billion global virtual goods business) for its benefits to developing economies and even suggest government might wish to help foster humans playing as NPCs to improve the quality of our games:

In the gaming space, it is possible to imagine, for example, a publisher using digitally enabled blue-collar workers to replace poorly performing computer controlled characters in order to improve the gaming experience.One intervention could simply be to open a dialogue between the development community and the digital services industry on ideas for future services that provide real jobs in the virtual economy.

This seems pretty far-fetched me, and I confess that as I am at a client today, I haven’t read the full report. But seeing gold farmers highlighted as a paragons of digital entrepreurialism surprised me.

But maybe the report is right. What do you think?

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: