The Chinese government has today banned the practice of gold farming.
Disliked by many in the West, gold farming has become a major industry in China, and today's news that the Chinese government has banned the practice will come as a huge relief to many MMORPG players and developers who are against gold farming. Gold farming is also one of the catalysts to MMORPG account theft.
Informationweek reports that virtual currency in China can now not be "traded for real goods or services". The statement also reads that "The virtual currency, which is converted into real money at a certain exchange rate, will only be allowed to trade in virtual goods and services provided by its issuer, not real goods and services."
This new law appears to mean that currency can only be exchanged for things such as in-game items, and the government hopes that it will now "curtail gambling and other illegal online activities". Richard Heeks at the UInivertisty of Manchester estimates that gold farming rasies $200 million and $1 billion annually.
Only time will tell whether companies find a loop-hole around the new laws. Let's hope not.
By Paul Younger