Apparently, people these days are too lazy to even play the video games they buy, and are willing to pay someone else to do it for them. A Manchester University study has shown the industry is potentially worth $500 million. The business employs close to half a million people, most of them in China. However, not even the study could prove exact number:
… the true size of the sector was hard to estimate – it could easily be twice as big. The quasi-criminal nature of gold-farming made it hard to truly gauge its extent, said Prof Heeks.
It’s not hard to find this stuff either. A quick eBay search for “Warcraft Gold” netted 533 results.