World of Warcraft

Posted: January 25, 2010 in Entertainment, Social Media, Uncategorized, Websites
Tags: , ,

The cool thing about graduate school is that I get to attend very interesting presentations about topics that I know nothing about. Today, I went to a presentation on “The Value and Identity: Extrusions of a Video Game” given by Bonnie Nardi, professor of informatics at the University of California, Irvine. It was a fascinating presentation about the World of Warcraft fantasy game.

The talk focused on modding, the creation of software extension to the game by players themselves and the emerging instance of the Chinese Gold Farmer, where Chinese World of Warcraft are embodied in cultural imaginary invoking sweatshop labor and low tech economic activity. There are 11.5 million people who play this game world-wide with over have of them playing in China. Players create one of ten character types and play this highly social game online. In March 2009, the company changed the policy toward the modders who provide free software extensions to the game. There is an ongoing battle between the modders and the company which is surprisingly focused on autonomy and mutual respect. In addition, part of the game involves generating gold, which players can also buy online.  In China, it is reported that they hire very low paid workers to play the game in 12 hour shifts, generating gold to sell to players online. Here’s a link if you want to check out the site:

  1. clintschaff says:

    Cool. Have you ever played WoW?

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