South Korea claims tax on Virtual Goods

Worlds In Motion (which I’ll get back to later) reports that Korea’s National Tax Service (NTS) “has begun adding the new tax automatically to all virtual transactions involving real money as of July 1st, says the report, translated as follows:

Sellers who do between 6 and 12 million won ($6,500 – $13,000)/half year in
business will have VAT auto applied by transaction’s middle-man.

Sellers who do more than 12 million won/half year in business will need a
business will need a business license and will pay the tax by themselves”

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Virtual World Politics News

Where to start?
How about the “u gotta be kidding me!” news:
The US Congress has announced that it will be issuing a potential taxation of virtual goods report in August. I’m a bit perplexed about this. Firstly – how are they going to define what is virtual? And second of all, I don’t think we’re anywhere near ready to discuss this issue ‘officially’. I’m a bit worried that they’re going to ruin the creative gaming freedom that these virtual worlds offer by bringing up such invasive things as taxes. And when there’s just a handful of gamers this could apply to – is it really worth it? I’m all for that academics, gamers and designers discuss it, because it is important that we think about these things and have ready proposals and not in the least definitions before such matters do become official – but not the US Congress! Maybe I’m just skeptical because I’m European. I’m just not as thrilled as everyone else seems to be. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in the ‘real’ value of virtual goods – I really do! And I abhore all the journalists writing headlines about virtual goods being fake – yet worth real money. I just think that the ‘realness’ of such things has to come about another way than through a governmental force like the US Congress. But I’m getting ahead of myself here, they do say ‘potential’.

BBC on goldfarming

I’m a big fan of the BBC! Here’s a nice little segment on how and why virtual currency in WoW has become so popular. I really like it because it gets to the heart of the matter and doesn’t dwell on the dramatic realization that people are using real money to buy virtual things. It’s really to the point – and I’m so glad that they included a Blizzard representative that could voice their concerns with RMT. Thanks sis for sending it to me!

"Synthetic Worlds and Public Policy"

Ludium II at Indiana University will focus on what ‘synthetic worlds and public policy’ this year.Great!

I hope that a good and healthy array of people will be present. I, for example, would like to see some public policy enforcers present – see what they have to say on the subject. These are difficult questions – and the more diversity discussing them – the more I think they can come up with an adequate proposal. I cannot stress enough how dangerous it is to bring ‘actual’ laws into gaming worlds – and yet I do believe avatars have rights too. But should it be controlled by consumer laws?
I think it is in the best interests of the synthetic world makers to have adequate laws and procedures – but there are limits to the responsibilities that can be enforced on them. I also think that in such debates you cannot dismiss the dilemma of defining what is a gaming world and what is a virtual (synthetic) world.Either way, it looks like Castronova and his bunch have created a great Ludium in the best possible form this year again!

Ludium II will bring together experts on virtual worlds from academia, industry, and government to play a live-action political game leading to an extremely serious, timely, and important contribution: a consensus Platform of 10 Statements answering the question “What policies should real world governments have with regards to synthetic worlds?” The hope is that this Platform will provide answers when legislatures and administrators wonder what to do in response to the critical public issues that will be raised by these unique social technologies.

Good luck!!!

Argh!!!

The State of Play conference that I was soooooooooooo much looking forward to in Singapore is postponed! That just sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!! Argh!!! What an absolute bummer!!!!!!!!!!!

“State of Play IV: Building the Global Metaverse, the fourth annual State of Play conference on the future of cyberspace, originally scheduled to be held in Singapore on January 7 – 9, 2007, is being rescheduled to a new date in the spring semester 2007, soon to be announced.”

Argh – and I had changed my ticket and everything!!

Sigh! So it obviously was too good to be true! So disappointed!! What a complete bummer!!!

Making sense of virtual property research

I just realized that I haven’t blogged anything about VERN – Virtual Economy Research Network, here! Well…I’m just gonna point you in the direction – to start you off, there’s an interesting post/essay on “Making sense of virtual property research” – I would say it’s a must for anyone wanting to look into such matters! I felt it was very helpful!

Real Market Trade

Heya!!! Does anyone know where I can get the current figures for worldwide RMT? I know, I should have a site somewhere, but for some bizarre reason I can’t find it!! The latest numbers I can find are from Dec. 2005 – it must be much larger now!!! Any help appreciated! Will love you for always and forever!!!! ;)

The State of Play book!


I’ve pretty much accepted that my thesis is just a summary of discussions about MMORPGs. When you start out such things, you always think you’re gonna write something new – but, naw! I’ve foolishly created my own typology though – I don’t know what I was thinking, it just felt like something that needed to be done! I’m waiting for a ‘go ahead’ from my darling advisor, now, while I’m trying to sum up…well…way too much actually! The ontology of the avatar (oh please inject me with an instant psychology degree!), intellectual property rights of avatar created content (oh please inject me with a law degree!) and MMORPGs – collaborative fiction, society or gameplay? (urgh – still working on the set-up there).
ANYWAYS!!! I say that it’s all about summing up the discussions – and they can all be found in this new book!!! Excellent that they’ve published it all in one book! What I’ve always loved about the subject of MMORPGs is the involvement from so many disciplines! There’s lively discussions between designers, lawyers, economist, psychologist, anthropologists, historians, sociologists and…urgh…you name the field and they’re probably heavily involved already! If you’re interested in studying MMORPGs, buy this book! It’s ESSENTIAL!!! No matter what field you’re coming from! I hate to be an advertisement but BUY THIS BOOK!!!!!!
I’ll probably be back later to link to the brilliant minds behind it – but I’ve spent way too long with my morning news and coffee and must dash to dive into work!!

So here’s an interesting dilemma!

I’m a terrible sister!! My sister’s birthday is tomorrow and I STILL haven’t found her a gift! She lives in Australia and I’ve been surfing around for a couple of days trying to find something VERY modest for my student budget. There’s a few options out there that seem modest…but the cost is so much more!
So…my sister is an eager WoW’er…and I’m wondering….how unethical would it be for me to buy her a gift certificate for virtual goods?

Virtual money available from RL cash machines


Well there we go! The transition has been made! Project Entropia has finally released a cash card that “allows people to access their virtually acquired PEDs (Project Entroipia Dollars) and convert them into real money at any cash machine in the world”!
It seems only natural that Project Entropia would be the first to do this, as the description goes: “The Entropia Universe is not a game. The Entropia Universe is for real. Real people, real activities and a Real Cash Economy in a massive online universe” – it’s reeked capitalist hunger ever since we started hearing about the $100,000 space station.

I’m really hoping that no true MMORPGs are gonna end up doing this! Seriously, I’m more and more against RMT and rather protect the magic circle of the game! Being the financially retarded person, that I am – I would never get anywhere in the world that I love to play in and escape to! I would end up being on the bottom level all the time! And I would have to make these gruesome decisions like should I liquidate (thats what they say on all the Wall Street films at least) my virtual posessions so that I can go be sociable with RL friends but be completely broke in-game or just sit at home and play and forget RL entirely? I mean…I would hate to be confronted with those decisions!

I do however, believe that MMORPG players should be given some symbolic license of authorship somehow – but that’s another blog post all together.

Picture taken from the Make: article: The Future of Credit Cards – Earning virtual currency for spending in the real world & other world bridging.