In a game like World of Warcraft, some non-devout players often can't be bothered to put the time & effort into gameplay to gain better weapons and armor for their avatars. So they'll outsource gameplay to “gold-farmers” to play & advance their avatar. BBC reports that at least 400,000 people in China earn an average of £77 per month selling these virtual goods to players.

Steven Davis, chief of game security firm Secure Play, said gold farming had been around since the earliest days of online gaming but had mushroomed along with the popularity of gaming. The trade was clearly meeting a real need, he said. “When you get people with more money than time and time than money the two will find a way to meet,” he said.

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