View Full Version : MMORPG's In-Game Economies May Be Taxed Soon

Corey A.
10-19-2006, 05:34 AM

"That'll be $15.16 for that Silver Sword. What? The extra cost is sales tax." This sort of conversation may be the reality soon enough in MMOs with an in-game economy. While the purchase of in-game goods has not been taxed in the past, the increasing significance of MMOs has made it impossible for the government to ignore.

As the popularity of MMO games has grown, so has the amount of money that players spend on them. These virtual economies have heretofore gone untaxed, but their increasing significance has caught the eyes of the U.S. government.

"Right now we're at the preliminary stages of looking at the issue and what kind of public policy questions virtual economies raise -- taxes, barter exchanges, property and wealth," Dan Miller, senior economist for the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress told Reuters. "You could argue that to a certain degree the law has fallen (behind) because you can have a virtual asset and virtual capital gains, but there's no mechanism by which you're taxed on this stuff."

The MMO Second Life (in which Reuters recently opened a news service) has a large in-game economy based on the purchase of virtual items like clothing and vehicles. This can generate as much as a half million dollars in sales a day, and the Second Life economy is steadily growing.

"Ownership, property rights, all that stuff needs to be decided. There's just too much money floating around," said game designer Sam Lewis, veteran from Star Wars Galaxies. "The tax laws don't know how to behave because these are virtual items: ones and zeros on a database we're allowing you to play in."

"We are starting with a blank slate and going through the various dimensions of virtual economies, and seeing where they might intersect with public policy," said Miller, who added about his colleagues, "I found that talking about this issue with some of the other economists on the committee, they are not really familiar with what a virtual economy is. The idea of Second Life or World of Warcraft or some of these other synthetic universes, they have trouble wrapping their head around."

Good & Evil
10-19-2006, 05:41 AM
Are you freaking kidding me?

10-19-2006, 05:50 AM
I dont play any, but this is awful

10-19-2006, 06:15 AM
Ah, the hilarity of idiocy.

10-19-2006, 06:18 AM
Just speculation at this point. I don't see how it can be implemented unless people are actually paying cash for in-game items (which is idiotic).

Jew Mafia
10-19-2006, 06:19 AM
glad to know our govt is dealing with the serious issues.

10-19-2006, 06:20 AM
I know a couple people that this would hit if it went through.

10-19-2006, 06:20 AM
This is just recockulous...V wouldn't stand for this shit! C'mon, lets swarm around a virtual Parliment and make explody-sounds!