Nice Work Retrieving That Magic Sword... But Now You Need To Pay Uncle Sam For It

from the oh-please dept

We've discussed, at length, the many, many reasons why it's a bad idea to start taking in-game crimes and putting them in real world courts -- even if people are getting scammed out of things that have real value. Because the game allowed it, it's an in-game issue and should be taken care of within the game. Otherwise where is the line? Some games allow for stealing and crime -- or even encourage it. If that's the case, then what happens when a player in one of those games takes a dispute out to court? It seems silly since the point of the game is to set up a world where those actions are acceptable. In almost every case, there should be some sort of way that the issue can be handled within the game. However, as people continue to take such disputes outside of the game, while talking up how much value there is within the game, it has apparently attracted some interest of politicians who are wondering if it makes sense to tax in-game proceeds. By taking any aspect of the game and connecting it directly to the real world, the games have only brought this possibility on themselves. Note that the politicians aren't talking about virtual items in the game that have been converted to real dollars or other assets. That's already taxable as income. Instead, they're looking at actually taxing the items within the game based on the perceived value of those assets. This opens up a huge set of issues that aren't likely to go away very easily -- while also making it a lot more expensive to spend much time playing online games.

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  1. identicon
    Sanguine Dream, 18 Oct 2006 @ 11:10am

    Big can of worms...

    If you try to introduce taxes into virtual economies then you also have to introduce the penalties and benefits of them too.

    Tax Breaks
    Virtual Tax Evasion

    Cross that that stuff over with virtual issues (like server crashes and servers with small populations) and you are looking at a big mess of problems. Frankly the goverment needs to get the tax system straight in the real world first before trying stick their hands in someone else's Kool Aid.

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