China Bans Gold Farming

 Posted by (Visited 7888 times)  Game talk
Jun 292009


In addition to its ongoing crackdown on Internet porn, the Chinese government has declared that virtual currency cannot be traded for real goods or services.

Virtual currency, as defined by Chinese authorities, includes “prepaid cards of cyber-games,” according to a joint release issued by China’s Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Commerce on Friday.

— China Bans Gold Farming — InformationWeek.

This is going to have huge ripple effects.

  18 Responses to “China Bans Gold Farming”

  1. Farah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, Billy Mayes…Gold Framing in China.

    We are truly in the End Times.

  2. Well, I’m sure gold FRAMING is still legal. FARMING, however…

  3. Correct me if I’m wrong, but did they just ban the whole F2P industry? Or it applies only to transactions from the virtual currencies into real?

  4. @ golergka

    “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,” the Ministries said.

  5. Sweet! I’m back in business then. Just gonna wait for these prices to recover and get my farm on

  6. I find it hard to believe the police will enforce this on a ground level. Don’t expect any PC Workshops to be raided, maybe a few MASSIVE farms with thousands of employees to make an example, but this is an industry that employs far too many people now — it won’t be stopped by a law like this.

    Basically China just halted all the large scale, more legitimate operations. There was a blub in there about QQ coins so I’m not sure if this is hurting F2P or not. Maybe it will just prevent people from trading QQ coins with other accounts after purchase, locking them to your account like most F2P microtransaction systems in the east and west.

    In any case this law most likely will hurt the large businesses that will have to adapt around it — I doubt the PC Workshops that farm WoW will see any change at all. Most are too small for anyone to care, and cops have more important things to do than crack down on people trying to make a living in a (relatively) victimless industry.

    So you heard it here first, there’s not going to be some massive disappearance of farmers. Big companies will need to adapt to maintain legality, but small fries (most farmers) will keep on truckin’ as always.

    Even if they did stop farming in China, the rest of the developing world is getting in on the action at an increasing rate!

  7. How does the Chinese government propose to establish that such a transaction has taken place? Will Blizzard pull a Google and provide them with the necessary enforcement tools?

    Will Blizzard be altering their drop/sink ratios to compensate for this? Yowza.

  8. Very interesting. I can’t really determine from the news article if it’s going to effect WoW gold selling and the like though. Seems like they want to crack down on the whole QQ coins thing which sounds like a means of people laundering money but it doesn’t explicitly talk about other games or currency.

    And maybe this means that gold farmers just start selling items and goods directly to the player instead of currency.

  9. Well of course, its competition for the virtual currency issued by the People´s Bank.

  10. I have a sense that this may be more about China not wanting any underground currencies or, worse, any de facto alternate currencies in their country. There’s simply too little difference between the electric number in your “real” bank account and the one in your game’s bank window.

  11. Note to add: should have specified underground or alternate private currencies. Major element, that.

  12. I posted this on Twitter & FB last night shortly before it hit your blog.

    Another relevant quote from the article:

    “The Chinese government estimates that trade in virtual currency exceeded several billion yuan last year, a figure that it claims has been growing at a rate of 20% annually. One billion yuan is currently equal to about $146 million.”

  13. Seems this may have been a case of bad reporting. Looking at the official release from the Chinese government:

    The title is really straight forward “China bars use of virtual money for trading in real goods.” They did not ban the ability to use real money to buy virtual goods. The gold farming industry will not be affected. is also reporting this:

  14. The interpretation that the new regulation is about gold farming has spread like wildfire. Unfortunately, it is not correct – the regulation is about the Chinese government staying in control of currency movements within the country. It’s not targetted at gold farming, and unlikely to have much of an impact on gold farming.

    More details at the ICTs for Development blog:

  15. […] Ministry of Culture was, I believe, the arm of the government there that recently banned gold farming, but also the one that last gave WoW permission to operate […]

  16. […] Ministry of Culture was, I believe, the arm of the government there that recently banned gold farming, but also the one that last gave WoW permission to operate […]

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