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
    JC, 18 Oct 2006 @ 1:19pm

    Uh, yeah, legally not workable.

    See, when I play World of Warcraft I agree to a EULA and Terms of Service that state that every item in the game, even the character I play, is actually the propery of Blizzard, Inc. As such, no matter how many items I get in game or how much gold I farm, it's never really mine (legally). It's Blizzard's. It exists on their servers and they can delete it or create it to their heart's content. They can cancel my account at any time, and I get nothing back (except, perhaps, a pro-rated refund of my monthly fee). When you pay a subscription fee for these games, you're paying for access to the servers, and when you buy the game you're paying for a license for the software and an account key that allows you to set up the account.

    You can't tax me on things I don't actually own.

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