What Kind Of Virtual Economy Is It When Millions Of Dollars Just Disappear?

from the ask-Cartman dept

For years, we've been hearing reports about the growth of in-game virtual economies, often claiming things like it's equal to the economy of Namibia. Of course, many of those claims break down when you look closely at them, as the numbers are actually much smaller than claimed, or the transactions are questionably counted. There are also other problems with trying to count in-game economies -- partly because they're very much at the whim of the makers of various games. So, for example, when World of Warcraft makers Blizzard simply remove 11 million gold pieces from circulation, after shutting down accounts that made gold through fraud and cheats, how is that counted in the grand economic scheme? Just like questions revolving around whether or not real world laws apply within games, it's not so easy to just say that the economies of these games can be equated with real world economies as well.

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  1. identicon
    claire rand, 17 Oct 2006 @ 6:53am

    tax?

    how exactly does the tax man view this sort of thing?

    e.g. i 'earn' (however) l$x.. and later i spend some of it (all within the game)... presumably i gain some sort of advantage from my purchase, even if just entertainment (a service).

    yet the tax people haven't had a 'cut' (call it protection money) so how is this viewed?

    a few attempts at creating barter economies locally have been set up.. along the lines of babysit for me and i'll wash your windows etc. no cash changes hands, no bodies income is affected. but services that should be paid for and thus taxed have been excahnaged.

    if memory serves someone offered to wash the tax offices windows as payment..

    i'll view this sort of thing as a 'real economy' when the tax people are present.

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