In a revealing profile of the gold-selling industry - the second in our four-part feature series on the trade in in-game currencies and services - the number of gold farmers in China is estimated at one million.

A spokesperson for the gold-selling company SwagVault makes the claim in Nick Ryan's report. He says that larger gold-selling firms, of which SwagVault is one, use up to 1000 farmers to generate their product in-game.

"The yearly turnover for all these enterprises combined is estimated at over 10 billion US dollars," says the trader, 'Benjamin', trumping the 2 billion figure quoted in last week's piece, where it was also said that 30 per cent of all MMO players buy gold.

"World of Warcraft players make up 70 per cent of this RMT activity. So Blizzard really creates a miracle! I really can't believe that a game can generate such a large market."

Ryan also interviews a young Chinese gold farmer in this week's piece Gold Farming Exposed: The Sellers, alongside a British private seller of gold who automated his own operations in Ultima Online and EVE Online.

Stay tuned for future instalments looking at the gold trading business from the perspectives of players and game developers, and be sure to check out last week's introduction.

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Oli Welsh

Oli Welsh

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Oli is the editor of Eurogamer.net and likes to take things one word at a time. His friends call him The European, but that's just a coincidence. He's still playing Diablo 3.

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