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October 29, 2005

Virtual Gaming Sweatshops in China

As online gaming as taken off, these "virtual worlds" are getting all too real, with first world games hiring Chinese workers to "level up" their characters to become more powerful, doing the boring parts of online gaming in real sweatshops, as detailed in this BBC story describing a photograph of where this labor is done:

One shot shows what, at first glance, might be mistaken for a virtual room from within a game. With newspapers as wallpaper, posters of fantasy figures, and scruffy bedding, it is in fact a room in a net cafe in Tianjin, China.

It is used by employees who work for a dollar a day levelling up player's characters. Up to 30 will work for 16 hours, using the room to sleep in shifts.

Hat tip to Metafilter.

Posted by Nathan at October 29, 2005 04:09 PM