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Courtesy of Richard Heeks of University of Manchester, everything currently known with any confidence about gold farming is reported here, without any apparent agenda.
ecastronova on Aug 03, 2008 in Economics | Permalink
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An outstanding paper there by Prof. Richard Heeks. My only criticism so far is that now I have to go and re-write parts of my PhD Lit. Review to include this paper :-)
David Grundy |
Aug 07, 2008 at 08:32
I posted about this here (but the trackback doesn't appear to be showing up):
What I found most interesting about the study was the additional evidence of how enormous the RMT market is. Whenever you read discussions of RMT, player feedback is almost completely negative. But if players hate it so much, who is buying all that gold?
It reminds me of an old Elaine Boozler (sp?) joke where she'd ask the crowd to applaud if they voted for Ronald Reagan. When not many people clapped, she'd quip "The man carries 49 states and nobody voted for him... right."
I think some (most?) of these players who are anti-RMT protest too much.
Michael Hartman |
Aug 09, 2008 at 02:43
The players who buy gold are unlikely to admit to it, especially since many people view it as cheating. Defending gold farming definitely won't make you popular, which is why most forum posts are negative.
People complain because the problem (or at least that's how I'd describe it) shows no sign of going away. There's probably no easy fix.
Aug 10, 2008 at 03:32
What surprised me was that there was not much more additional evidence of how large the RMT market is. Prof. Heeks makes mention that the data from SOE's Station Exchange may skew the results since it was a legitimate service, and doesn't engage in any of the deceptive business practices of illegitimate RMT companies. Also, the buyers are not being removed by the developers, which would retain repeat buyers. In the games where this is not allowed, removing repeat customers would depress the market for this substantially.
From the rare discussion by a SGM or developer on various game forums (such as Eve-Online or WoW) the information they give out tends towards a small proportion of the game population engaging in this, with a small proportion of that engaging in it quite a lot. I would imagine removing the most egregious offenders would remove quite a lot of demand.
What we do not know is how Eastern MMOs deal with this, or how prevalent it is in their markets. Without some MMO company coming forward with raw data on their own population, most of the information we have is conjecture and estimates. I would like to see one of the companies come out and acknowledge the issue, and (hopefully) deflate the very depressing estimates of almost a quarter of players engaging in RMT.
Aug 10, 2008 at 09:31
Not that I should judge based on a subject, but since when does RMT == Gold Farming? Second Life is RMT, but it's not gold farming, right?
Aug 10, 2008 at 14:26
Aug 10, 2008 at 14:28
I doubt that the players, let's say, "dislike" the gold-famers, because they consider it cheating. Do I dislike Cillit Bang (the fat dissolver), because it's bad for the environment? No, I hate it, because they guys making it force me to waste five minutes of my life hearing Barry Scott's voice along with a whole bunch of other nonsense, while I'd rather continue watching The English Patient. This is precisely the reason why players don't like gold-farmers. The last thing they want to hear, whilst fighting Dark Knight XYZ, is "BUY GOLD AT WWW.BLAHBLAHBLAH.COM. Over 10 years experience and quality service! WWW.BLAHBLAHBLAH.COM!". They're the Barry Scott of every MMO.
Nicholas Chambers |
Aug 11, 2008 at 05:46
Just to answer Tim's point: technically this is true. We can divide RMT into two. Primary RMT is sanctioned by the game company (e.g. Second Life, Station Exchange, etc). Secondary RMT is out-game and not sanctioned. Secondary RMT is the downstream / trading element of the value chain in which gold farming is the upstream / production element. But many people conflate the term gold farming with that whole secondary value chain including the RMT part. Most estimates of RMT / gold farming seem to relate to the secondary value chain and to exclude primary RMT.
Richard Heeks |
Aug 18, 2008 at 08:18
@Alex "Not that I should judge based on a subject, but since when does RMT == Gold Farming? Second Life is RMT, but it's not gold farming, right?"
You make an important point regarding terminology. The RMT (Second Life) and what the Grey Market RMT (Gold Selling in WoW) are different beasts, however I think the paper is extremely clear from the start as to which section of the RMT is being examined.
@Jason "The players who buy gold are unlikely to admit to it, especially since many people view it as cheating. Defending gold farming definitely won't make you popular, which is why most forum posts are negative."
This is most definately an issue in researching the buy side of the gold farming market. However certainly in one-on-one interviews I've found players more willing to discuss purchases etc. How this translates to an open survey I have yet to find out.
Also, and this is just from my prelimiary findings, cash purchase seems to be seen in a very different light than account purchases etc. Especially in extremely achievement-driven game structures. As Prof Heeks explains well in his paper the grey-RMT market is about much more than just virtual cash selling, but a range of services these days. Players in particular seem to have starkly different reactions to different parts of this market (From admittedly, again, only prelimiary findings)
David Grundy |
Aug 19, 2008 at 10:12
Opps, @ Tim I meant, not Alex.
David Grundy |
Aug 19, 2008 at 10:13
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