David Barbosas brilliantly engages his audience with a catchy title that urges the reader to complete the piece to understand what it is that he is discussing. “Ogre to Slay? Outsource It to Chinese” is eye-catching and its content and is very thought-provoking and well researched. His preparation for the article includes him finding sources in China, who are engaged in illegal outsourcing of computer game players and contributing to what the Chinese government are attempting to halt, what they call “internet addiction”.
Not only does Barbosas find these valuable sources for information and quote them, he also cites workers in these gaming factories. The effort of his research and concise conclusions to an interesting technological issue makes this piece very well put together and easily readable and understandable to a diverse audience.
Barbosas says that this is an issue that spans from “Seoul to San Francisco” and he is very eloquent in his comparison between the affluent gamers, who are willing to pay Chinese workers to complete initial rounds of computer games and the gamers, themselves, who work 12 hour days, 7 days a week for a mere $250 a month. He does well, also, in showing the change of contrast from what has in history been a clear line between fantasy and reality to illustrate how these lines have blurred.
He makes the point of outlining the beginning of the changes in the virtual world of gaming, when gamers began playing others worldwide a few years ago and then when they began becoming so enmeshed with their avatars (or characters that they create), that they pay others to essentially baby-sit them, as the Chinese do or use virtual currency to buy components, such as weapons to help their avatars. Barbosas does well in explaining the complex and intricate world of virtual gaming to even readers, who have no familiarity of the subject.
He simultaneously delves into explaining this strange new world while vividly describing the Chinese workers behind the scenes or, more accurately, behind the screens. He paints an interesting picture of what he refers to as, “virtual sweatshops”. There gamers are playing in dark basements, surrounding by posters of the games they play. These Chinese farmers make up an estimated 40-50% of the gamers involved worldwide in these popular games and it is believed that 1 in 4 internet users in China use their online connection for gaming.
In addition to the other staggering statistics Barbosas integrates into his commentary, he integrates what those involved in gaming have to say and what experts share on this issue. One conclusion by an American professor is that this illustrates how the time of Americans is valued more over the time of persons in countries, such as China. In contrast, one owner of a “sweatshop” believes that if these gamers were not working for him that they would be going back to hard farm work with smaller wages or on the streets.
In conclusion, Barbosas shows his journalistic talent in this piece. His research, illustrated by interview citations and statistics, demonstrate his expertise in this strange, technological world. He presents many trends in the world of gaming, in reality versus fantasy, and in the currency involved in these questionable online enterprises. His work is easily readable by a wide audience and his lead-in to the article with it’s catchy title definitely lives up to the interest that title holds.