Reuters Talks About In-game Spam and Gold Farming – Nerd Rage Ensues

There are much better ways to start your day than with a hearty bout of rage, but alas, thanks to this little article by the folks at Reuters about in-game gold spam, I am sitting here stewing.

I hope you’ll indulge me for a moment while I rant for a bit.

It’s just “typical” that the mainstream press does an article about RMT and the best they can do is to regurgitate the publisher’s party line. It blows my mind that Reuters, supposedly a paragon of good journalistic practices, gets away scot-free with a piece that seems to be lacking in some areas.

Is it not the first rule of good journalism to be fair and balanced? Shouldn’t both sides of an issue be explored and presented in such a manner that the reader can come to his or her own conclusions? What Reuters has done is essentially promote an agenda; they’ve colored the news and led the reader to a conclusion. Frankly, considering Reuter’s pedigree and history in tracking and providing financial news, information and data, that’s disappointing and kind of offensive.

No one who plays World of Warcraft, Aion, Warhammer, Everquest 2, FFXI or Age of Conan likes in-game gold spam. Everyone here at EpicToon is a gamer to some degree (some of us lead very successful guilds) and NONE of us appreciate gold spam. Which is why we have banded together with other leading RMT companies to educate gamers on how we can work together to put a stop to it.

If Rueters had bothered to actually do some research to go along with their “report” on the current state of the RMT industry, I think they’d be surprised to find that there’s a reliable contingent of trusted RMT sites that operate in the field. They would have ALSO discovered that gamers prefer these sites, even over “publisher sanctioned” RMT sites. Why? Because they provide superior service and are proven, trusted providers with track records for fighting abuse.

If you want to protect gamers, there is an easy solution. Simply direct gamers to trusted RMT service providers. Don’t exacerbate the issue with banning and draconian end user license agreements that simply force the industry underground and provide fertile ground for scammers and fly-by-night operations in China that care little about gamers OR publisher rights. And let’s stop lumping RMT (the industry) in with the illegal practice of spam.  They are separate issues.  Yes, there are companies involved in RMT that are involved in spam. But that is no different than the thieves one finds in banking, on Wall Street and elsewhere in life.  If RMT was really dangerous, do you think SOE would operate a program like the Station Exchange? Heck no. The Station Exchange and other publisher licensed RMT activities pretty much prove once and for all that the tension in RMT is about the money.  Publishers want as much of the $2bn industry pie as they can get their mitts on.

RMT exists (and is growing) because a substantial percentage of players want the benefits it provides (remember RMT was created by players themselves).  There’s no denying the fact that the industry has seen dark days. Every new industry goes through a rocky patch in its infancy, but there’s also no denying the huge strides taken towards cleaning up the industry, towards providing customers with great, reliable services, and towards making sure customers transactions are safe and secure.

I would like to see publishers work with legit, trusted RMT companies. Perhaps publishers ought to seriously consider some sort of accreditation or approval process. It would help to establish standards, reduce opportunities for abuse by shady characters, and provide needed protections for game players, publishers, and trusted service providers alike. Someday, a publisher is going to understand the massively exciting potential of virtual economies linked to real world money and they will be the new juggernaut in “online games”.

In closing this rant, please allow me to turn my wrath to Reuters once again; shame on you. It would seem Reuters just took a press release and ran down the bullet points. How about a little investigative journalism next time?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to do some deep breathing exercises and play some Okami to bring my blood pressure down.

Register and comment! Let me know your thoughts! This is important stuff!