A "rather sensationalised editorial" (as Worlds In Motion describes it) by Ma Jun in the Shanghai Daily suggests that the government should step in and add another level of control to the Chinese MMO industry: banning the sale of virtual goods for real money. While the author takes a dim view of the conditions gold farmers and their ilk work in, they take a really dim view of the people who make their living stealing account passwords and equipment from virtual avatars:
Being indignant at such crimes, I also feel sorry for those criminals. Many of them are even more wretched victims, of the unconstrained online game business, than legitimate users and players.
They are addicted young players who wasted too much time in the games and become losers in schools and, as adults, have difficulties in finding a regular job to support themselves - so they turn to online crime.
Some of them, induced by experienced crackers, join the business of online larceny, and mostly function as tiny worms in a huge nest.
Considering there are plenty of non-loser uni graduates who are also having a hard time finding legitimate jobs (as illustrated by the near-riot that took place at a Zhengzhou job fair last year), I don't think we can pin the rising unemployment problem on online games, but no doubt there would be some happy players and companies if the Chinese government did step in and ban the sale of virtual goods. I can't imagine it would stop the problem, but perhaps - at the very least - stem the tide. But that leaves another question: what is an unemployed gold farmer to do?