updated 1/19/2006 9:39:14 PM ET 2006-01-20T02:39:14

PC Gamer, the country's largest magazine of its kind, will stop taking ads from companies involved in the trade of virtual objects and characters from online role-playing games.

In the February issue, editor Greg Vederman said the magazine was responding to readers unhappy with "gold farmers," who play to accumulate items such as gold coins for resale.

The "farmers" sell the virtual goods to other players for real money at such sites as IGE and Power Leveling. Such sites also broker the sales of high-powered game characters for players who don't want to spend time building up their own characters.

"For the record, PC Gamer's official stance on these types of companies is that they are despicable," Vederman wrote, saying they ruin the fun for players who don't use their services.

Heather Gore, IGE Ltd.'s vice president of marketing and communications, said that her company currently does not advertise in PC Gamer and had no plans to do so. She declined further comment.

"Gold farming" is a contentious issue among gamers. While many players deplore it, the trade in virtual items is estimated to exceed $100 million a year.

Some games now capitalize on that trend by officially allowing and facilitating trade between players. But the most popular ones, including the multimillion player World of Warcraft, have no such provisions.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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