Julian Dibbell on Chinese who farm gold (and perform other for-pay duties) in online games like World of Warcraft. "Nick Yee, an M.M.O. scholar based at Stanford, has noted the unsettling parallels (the recurrence of words like 'vermin,' 'rats' and 'extermination') between contemporary anti-gold-farmer rhetoric and 19th-century U.S. literature on immigrant Chinese laundry workers." Dibbell's Play Money was a great read and deserves wider readership than it originally received.
Cory posted a nice review of Julian Dibbell's Play Money. I loved the book as well and Cory's review captures what's so compelling about it. It's a shame that it didn't gain a wider readership (and a less unfortunate cover as well)...it's not just some nerdy book about g@m3rz.
During the depths of the dot com bust, Julian Dibbell looked online for a job and found one as a commodities trader in the Ultima Online virtual world. During one particularly productive month, he made almost US$4000. Dibbell has a book coming out about the experience, Play Money: Or, How I Quit My Day Job and Made Millions Trading Virtual Loot. In addition to being available at bookstores in meatspace, Play Money will also be on sale in the virtual world of Second Life in the currency of that world (Linden dollars). From the press release:
In-game versions of Play Money designed by Second Life coder/publisher Falk Bergman are available for L$750. These copies can be signed by Dibbell at his in-Second Life interview with journalist Wagner James Au on July 27th. For the Second Life resident who needs something a bit more tactile, L$6250 buys a real-life copy of Play Money, shipped with care to the buyer's real life address, in addition to the standard in-game version.
(At the time of this press release, Linden dollars are trading at approximately L$300.00 to the US$1.00. Adjusted to US dollars, an online copy costs US$2.50, and the price of a real-life copy bought in-game is around US$20.85.)
Dibbell will be signing his virtual books in Second Life on July 27th. Caterina read Play Money and has some thoughts on its relation to her work/play at Ludicorp. And here's a preview of Chinese Gold Farmers, a documentary on gold farming sweatshops in China.