Play between love and labor: The practice of gold farming in China

Zixue Tai, Fengbin Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article scrutinizes the widespread practice of gold farming in China through two-plus years of field research conducted in 13 gold farming studios across five cities involving 64 participants. Informed by current research and theoretical deliberations on digital labor and co-creative production, the analysis offers insight on the rationales, motivations, and perceptions of gold farming through the practitioners’ perspectives of studio owners, managers, and players. It also explores the role of gold farm studios in the business cycle. Our discussion contextualizes gold farming as a special type of fan labor through transformative gameplay enmeshed in the global game capitalist market and contributes to the understanding of China’s youth-led game culture in general and the variegated intricacies of the trade of gold farming in particular.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2370-2390
Number of pages21
JournalNew Media and Society
Volume20
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research was supported by a grant from the Office for the Vice President for Research at the University of Kentucky awarded to the lead author.

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/ or publication of this article: This research was supported by a grant from the Office for the Vice President for Research at the University of Kentucky awarded to the lead author.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, The Author(s) 2017.

Keywords

  • China
  • digital labor
  • fan labor
  • gold farmers
  • gold farming
  • online games
  • video games

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science

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