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Level Up Your MMORPG Character Using Developing Economies

'world of warcraft'
Next time you are scoring that amazing Amethyst Helm of Schadenfreude for your Level 38 Warlock Raider (I just made that up, but I hope something like that exists), you may be helping people in developing countries to make some cash. According to the BBC and a report released by the World Bank -- which is apparently now studying the effects of 'World of Warcraft' (PDF) on the economy -- when Western players want high level items or mined gold, they'll often use real currency to buy from players in Vietnam and China who are paid to level up.

These virtual goods are nothing to sniff at, with certain accounts laying out megabucks for whatever helms and chainmail they fancy. The report estimates that the largest Chinese suppliers of in-game "gold" net nearly $10 million, while other firms can make up to $1 million; the whole worldwide virtual market is nearly an $8 billion dollar industry. The good news is that, because there are no real supply costs, a large portion of the profits go into the hands of the worker, directly benefiting them instead of a corporation. The bad news is that, with Western gamers shelling out all of their money to buy better in-game goods, they'll never be able to save up money to move out of Mom's basement. Bad-um!

Tags: china, developing world, DevelopingWorld, mmo, mmo-industry, mmorpg, top, vietnam, virtual currency, virtual-worlds, VirtualCurrency, world bank, world of warcraft, WorldBank, WorldOfWarcraft