Ten years ago, when I first came online with an old, beat up IBM clone, everything
was freely shared. There were almost no ads anywhere. “Free” had been established
as the “internet way”. It was as sacred as free speech. Five years ago, I noticed
someone selling a plugin for the WordPress blog platform and he was highly criticized
and ridiculed for his foolishness and for his greed; until then, plugins were always
free, they are just small scripts written in PHP. Then came the themes for WordPress.
Now there are websites whose entire business is selling themes for the WordPress
How things have changed.
The odd thing is that with online games, this free or paid model is happening backwards.
The games publishers were out of touch with the internet. They came online charging
monthly fees to play their games. Yes, it worked, millions paid that fee. So many millions
that it became difficult for new online game publishers to get off the ground. However,
now that the industry has a competitive base, the new game publishers have come out with
free-to-play and depend on the microtransactions where the players buy small assets,
like weapons, armour, etc. etc.
And that new model is working so well that some of the game giants are switching over.
Imagine that! Those Chinese sure are clever. They throw people in some stinking
prison, give them one bowl of rice per day, one cold shower per week, and require
them to play online games where they can earn virtual gold that can be converted
to real-world money.
And guess who keeps the real-world money?
The process of earning virtual gold in a online game such as World of Warcraft,
Grand Theft Auto, or many others, then selling that virtual gold to another
player, (or to a broker), is called gold-farming. It is illegal and yet it
is hugely widespread. Players in many countries have teams, since it costs
money to play, and the team members rotate shifts on the computer farming for
gold. We have heard that an individual can earn for $150 to $200 a month if
working long hours doing this gold-farming. So, a team could rack up maybe
a thousand US dollars a month which is big money for players in some countries.
Just as a side note, some reports estimate that 80% of all gold-farming is done
in China. Since China has the largest internet population in the world, there
are reports that there are over 100,000 full-time gold-farmers in the country.
Okay, here we go again. Another dude with a great paying, respectable position,
with a global securities firm: USB is going to prison due to his online gambling
habit. What did he do with his brain? Leave it somewhere?
Shawn Reilly, 34, former PaineWebber employee, was entrusted with the allotment
and accuracy of payments for investors. So, he just helped himself with a few
fraudulant payment totalling about $600,000 to support his online gambling. Duh!
And like the other thousands of idiots in prison, he thought no one will ever
know. How will they know? I’ll never be caught.
FINRA (the regulator), explained Reilly’s discharge:
“Mr. Reilly was terminated for engaging in improper conduct resulting
in employee wiring non-customer ubs funds to his personal account
and engaging in illegal internet gambling activity while on ubs property.”
Later FINRA began a full investigation which resulted in Reilly’s license
Law enforcement claimed that Reilly did about 84 fraudulent wire transfers
to his own account totally $673,000.
Reilly’s sentence is 33 months in prison, followed by 3 years of probation,
and he was ordered to pay $673,447.47 in restitution.
I hope he has the correct change.
There is so much talk about console gaming, Xbox, Playstation, etc, and
online games played on PCs that it seems the whole world is being taken
over by this “game craze”. Except me, I only play Freecell.
Countries like China and S. Korea are so overwhelmed by all their youth,
(and many adults), getting totally caught up with gaming in internet cafes,
that they have passed new laws trying to control the phenomenon. Some
countries have started recovery boot camps and/or rehabilitaion retreats.
So, which country is playing more games: the United States or the United Kingdom?
A recent survey by Newzoo gives us this research:
United States 47.5 million
Germany 10.6 million
United Kingdom 8.8 million
France 8.5 million
Netherlands 1.65 million
Belgium 1.2 million
So, America wins by a large margin with the brute raw numbers. Of course,
without knowing the percentage of the population, we do not know how saturated
any country is compared to the others. And this survey does not consider
the Asian market for some reason.