Outsourcing game playing to China

The New York Times has a story about Chinese “gaming factories” that employ people to play massively multiplayer online games (such as World of Warcraft), day in and day out, by killing onscreen monsters and winning battles, harvesting artificial gold coins and other virtual goods as rewards that, as it turns out, can be transformed into real cash. The pay off comes from selling the virtual assets to online gamers who lack the time and patience to work their way up to the higher levels of gamedom are willing to pay the young Chinese here to play the early rounds for them.