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!

MMORPG professionals

Raph Koster writes about a new group that calls themselves “The Virtual Citizenship Association”. It’s a new group advocating virtual citizen ehm ‘rights’. In his blogpost he points out the relevant problems with their social contract – which I completely agree with – so I’m not going to bother repeating it all in my own words here – you should just read it – I can’t do his words justice here!
But entering the site – I was quite intrigued by how they define themselves:

“We’re a group of MMORPG professionals, people who enjoy playing in online universes in general and people who advocate the use of Free Software.”

I find that interesting. When I think of ‘MMORPG proffesionals’ I think of game operators and designers – not players, but it’s a relevant point! Why shouldn’t players be labeled as MMORPG professionals? I kinda like it – it tickled me!
As for what they’re advocating, I agree with Koster when he writes:

“I’d prefer any such social contract to focus more on how operators have to treat players, than on forcing particular business models on operators.”

Too right!

And in case you don’t have the time to read the comments, I have to paste glorious Mr. Bartle’s comment – where would this industry be without his precious sense of humor?

“Why is it that these “players’ rights” advocates always target the virtual world developers and never the people who run guilds?

Richard

PS: Wouldn’t it be amusing if a virtual world developer banned membership of such organisations under its EULA?”

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!