Japanese gov't looks into gold farming

METI is surveying major gamemakers in an attempt to address real money trading and other illicit behavior in online games.

The practice of real money trading, the exchange of in-game currency from a massively multiplayer online game for actual real-world money, is becoming a growing concern. No longer is it simply a concern of the publishers who operate these games; now the Japanese government is opening up its own investigation into the practice.

The Kyoto Shimbun reports that Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) intends to look into wrongdoing perpetrated in connection with online games and virtual currencies. METI has begun its survey by interviewing major, albeit unspecified, game manufacturers on the matter.

This action was triggered by the recent boom in real money trading and the use of unauthorized programs to tamper with data and/or automatically obtain large amounts of virtual currency or items. Particularly troubling to METI is the appearance of organized groups capable of committing fraudulent activities on a large scale, sometimes from overseas locations. In addition to conducting its own inquiries, METI is urging the industry to take appropriate damage control measures and establish self-regulation quickly.

Last month Square Enix banned 250 accounts for using third-party software to collect massive amounts of gil, the game's currency. The publisher removed 250 billion gil from the game's economy, warning that real money trading "will not be tolerated" in the game. Earlier this month, Electronic Arts removed 15 trillion gold from the Ultima Online economy and banned more than 180 accounts for taking advantage of an exploit in the game.

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45 comments
Cloud737
Cloud737

Heh, the governments can try as much as they like, but RMT could never be stopped. If a publisher asks why you gave a large sum of virtual money to someone in the game, you can just claim you "donated" it out of charity, even if it appeared like you were selling it to augment you experience. So this cannot be stopped on the publishers site. Furthermore, if the government tries to monitor auction sites such as eBay and catches someone, they can`t accuse them of anything because that person can say that was a joke. The government can`t prove that a transaction took place, as the rest of the conversation and transaction happens through email or other untraceable means. Even if they remove such auctions from these sites, they wouldn`t be fast enough and so the seller would still have some clients that contacted him. So this also cannot be stopped by the government in the real world. So in the end, you come to the conclusion that this cannot be stopped at all.

need_id07
need_id07

Right just think what would happen if bill gates got rid of a **** of his cash in vertual gold before filling out taxes, then was able to sell it off and spend it slowly.

HuxleyHobbes
HuxleyHobbes

The governments of the world care for one reason and one reason only about this - taxation. They wouldn't give a crap about it otherwise.

baz_3001
baz_3001

Has anyone noticed that one of gamespots sponsored links takes you to a site which by the looks of things (I didnt log in) will give you info on how to make money by buying and selling in game currency?

Devicehead
Devicehead

I think the point everyone is missing is the fact that people useing an exploit in the game or a third party program to generate "unearned" virtual money to sell it for real cash online, makeing a huge profit. I'ts kind of a form of counterfieting if you think about it. And I think the stink about the government getting involved is the basic principle that the generated income isnt being reported for taxation.

jwsoul
jwsoul

I feel that if people choose to spend there time farming in a game they possibly pay to play and using there valuable hours to do this then why should they not attempt to sell the items they have earned. I understand the goverment would like to monitor and Tax this which is fair enough but i also feel that the devloper should not be forgotten either.... Im not sure how a system could be implemented but i feel that abolishing this practice is the wrong thing to do i feel that people should be allowed the choice to earn there items or take the easy way out and buy the items for real money. Although this could then i guess impact on MMORPG's in the gameplay area we could start seeing games aimed at farmers and people who have a lot of time on there hands this would then ruin the experience for more casual players...........arghh

japam
japam

While I don't support gil/gold selling in any way, I really don't get how fraud in a virtual, IMAGINARY economy breaks any real-world laws.... Unless people are setting up meth labs to make money for gil... though I doubt that. A big "Domo Arigato" to anyone who can explain this!

Igwababa
Igwababa

Personnally I like the idea of being able to buy gold or sell gold. I understand how farming should be killed but it aint gonna happen so get on with your life, its not like you really get that affected by it. Hey my friend does gold farming but for no personal gain. He aquires gold and each month sells it to cover his monthly subscription. He feels its his way of sticking it to the man. I dont really see a problem with that just a problem with seling like Millions of dollars of gold, but $15 of gold I just dont see the issue. Just my opinion feel free to bash all you want

GKBeetle
GKBeetle

The comic Foxtrot, which runs daily in newspapers, had a gag about this last week. One of the characters, a nerdy boy named Jason, was sitting there playing a game like Warcraft just to mine for gold, and was selling it online. His brother had an awesome line, something like, "So, they're paying you money so they don't have spend time playing the game that they paid money to play?" I totally cracked up when reading this, as that is exactly what it is. Things like that are the reason I don't play MMRPGs. I don't want to have to spend my time in game doing crap like farming or mining. I want to be killing monsters and stuff. But that other crap is what I ended up spending most of my time doing, just so I could be strong enough to kill something bigger than a rabbit without getting killed.

Kfoss
Kfoss

LOL you stole 65 units of battle armor!!!!! SHAME ON YOU.... and just how are they going to crack down on this?!?!

nintendorocks
nintendorocks

Good to see that the government is getting involved in this. This happens in all MMOs and I'm getting sick of it. I hope they can stop this once and for all. BTW, to anyone who listened to the last HotSpot......."Dirty Money......" :D

mr_pops238
mr_pops238

This is a big reason why i dont play MMO games.

PiMacleod_basic
PiMacleod_basic

Personally, I like that idea: the ability to buy items/game currency from the company at a fixed rate. At least game currency -- because honestly, having a 40+ hour a week job, friends, a gf, and not to mention all social life attachments that come with these, my FFXI time is very limited.

majere613
majere613

A bunch of these dirtbags turned up on the Quel'thalas WoW server last week, the first time I'd seen it. Perhaps the only answer to the problem that will really work is for the developers to allow players to buy gold/ items direct from them at a fixed rate- I know there's at least one that does this already, but I can't remember the name right now. Obviously this would lead to proliferation of 'rare' kit in the game world, but that tends to happen anyway on mature servers. The bottom line, though, is that by paying for this stuff you miss out on a lot of what makes the game interesting in the first place- I haven't properly got started on the hunt for my end-game kit yet, but I'm looking forward to it.. :)

Fusekazuki
Fusekazuki

"xelloss88 Ok easy solution, Get rid of AHs and NPC all items." That is in fact the answer to a good portion of FFXI problems. As for the whole gil/gold buying vs. farming the best argument is the fact that some people work for a living and buying gil is just like them buying a new CD or hell TV even a car. They want to maximize their time available in the gime and not clutter it up with "farming". I play a few different MMO's and Farming is a big time sink. Yet it's a game dynamic created to make people have to spend time and play the game so in-fact the developers can make money off the product through monthly fees. So yes there is a hefty group of people that gets mommy and daddy's credit card and buys 500 bucks worth of gil/gold for a birthday present or graduation. But there is also Mr.Smith business man and avid MMO player in his free time. Instead of spending his time(which is short due to the nature of working a 40+ hour a week job.) He hops on IGE and blows 200 bucks for some currency so he can take his 3-4 hours and do something "productive" with his time. People can complain about the farmers and froth at the mouth about them but honestly they are gonna exist much like how prostitution exists.

unfoundlime
unfoundlime

This has always worried me about mmo's. Part of the problem is I have yet to a truly fun and at the same time stable and flourishing economy in a one of these games. They all go out of whack, and when that happens its easier for 'some' to just buy in RL what they want instead of earn it in game.

gamer_10001
gamer_10001

Why would people pay REAL $$$ for fake gold in a game when they can just farm gold in the game quickly!?!?!?!

Kiwi
Kiwi

You guys do know that it affects both the people in-game plus that country's economy, right? You can easily bet there are tax dollars that are not being paid somewhere, it doesn't take a much better excuse to get the gov't involved.

elite11
elite11

wow those people are a bunch of desperat n0obs. get gil the old fashion way, bykilling and selling stuff.

xelloss88
xelloss88

Ok easy solution, Get rid of AHs and NPC all items.

meimnobody
meimnobody

The thing is even in games where the currency or whatnot is incredibly easy to get the farmers, virtual casino guys will still come in. Guild Wars used to be infested with these guys till they got banned and they came in from World of Warcraft after getting banned from there. Gold farmers have often been found to have stolen account data or hacked into the company. Nor do these guys pay taxes since they are in fact violating the EULA and the virtual items belong to the game company.

MELOJA
MELOJA

The Gold Farmer are killing our games. Because of them we have to pay high prices for items in the AH. You have to farm if you want Gold, Gil or what ever to get good end items. But Farm to get real money? What a Shame. Burn all the Gold Farmers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Marduk_Tyrant
Marduk_Tyrant

Honesty doesnt pay in RL (Enron being the rare exception) and the same goes for games. But atleast u can mess with them. Find yourself a bot running around farming and terrorize him (train mobs if PKing is restricted). Nobody tilts more easily than somebody "trying to make a living" out of a game. Just dont mess with the guy running point with a bunch of healing bots. If u thought that lvl80 Death dealer down in the dungeon of noun-of-your-choice that u raided with your buddies was tough, think again. Cheaters are always hard to beat straight up, but u can always make their life hell (commonly refered to as griefing) knowing others will cut u some serious slack for the sake of justice.

Karjah
Karjah

Gold farmers get paid what 10 cents an hour. Someone needs to shut this down it's totaly slavary and ruining our games.

superkoolstud
superkoolstud

Make items in MMORPG's affordable and then gold buying will stop. 900g for a skill book is stretching it. Not everyone has enough time to farm for g just to buy an item off the AH. Lowering repair costs would help too. I know it costs 14g just to repair from yellow.

momentai
momentai

... well there goes the www.gamingpays.com website... -.- (look in links below)

Corvin
Corvin

As long as we have MMORPGs that take months or years to advance in and just as long to save up fake currency to get the best items, there will be folks employed in the trade of real money for fake money. With so much time and effort involved in those games people will always find a way to advance that much quicker, even if it means siphoning off their real world cash to do so.

CoheedIV
CoheedIV

People who buy online currency are just as bad as the ones farming and selling it. If people didn't buy it, there would be no need to farm it. This is a major issue to all online MMO's almost to the point where it ruins some of them. Comeon people...dont make all of these games like real life where people with the most money have most of the power!

automaticsnake
automaticsnake

wow someone has to have so serious issues to do that.........

messin18
messin18

LOl of course their governemnt doesn't have anything better to do. Since we take care of their national security... Oh and "jap" is a rather offesnive term.. So just because you can't spell Japanese you shouldn't use that abreviation.

Zantetzuken
Zantetzuken

It is funny, but tbh its not surprising. Anyone who has an idea of economics knows what the possibilites are of the trade in virtual goods for real money. Plus gold farmers are evil kek!

Omihalcon
Omihalcon

huh a WoW-mad mate told me bout this stuff but i never figured it was large enough to cause concern from government authorities; i could never figure out why people would pay real money for digital currency/items.

FRoStYisGoD
FRoStYisGoD

wow even the jap government is wanting to get invonve in gold farming never though i'd see this but this is kinda weird as well

korn18m
korn18m

assassinX01 wrote: are you telling me the japanese government doesn't have anything better to do? How about fixing the air pollution problem, that's a start. _____________________________________________________________ The government is more than just one person you know. Do you not think governments can focus their attention on more than one issue at a time?

mad_tyger
mad_tyger

. . . hahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!

assassinX01
assassinX01

are you telling me the japanese government doesn't have anything better to do? How about fixing the air pollution problem, that's a start.

DarthVaderNDS
DarthVaderNDS

Yay! I just hope this doesn't become an "actual" problem.

kinncolts
kinncolts

so wat.....is the Japaneese Police gonna start playin WoW?

Dunmer_Lord
Dunmer_Lord

??? i don't see what it's talking about