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
    Michael Haney, 18 Oct 2006 @ 12:40pm


    The main company which makes "real world" money from in-game money and items is IGE. A majority of their workforce is in China and S. Korea. IGE's practices are in violation of both Blizzard's and SE"s license agreements. This technically makes it an illegal activity but neither company has been able to complete stop them for long.
    SE implimented many countermeasures which has limited how IGE's Gil Farmers ability to make money. They have been limited to flooding he Auction Houses with items and driving down prices to make them sell faster. IGE is also branching off into Power Leveling for money. Twice in last three months SE has banned over2,000 users accounts for using 3rd party chatting tools.

    I think it is wrong to tax in-game money. Getting in-game money for WoW and FFXI is against the EULA, but it would work wiith something like Second Life where its virtual money can be bought with real money and can be exchanged for real money.

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