The Deadman Night Rider

A forum for evening students of the SMU Dedman School of Law and other outlaws..

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Test your sense of humor-

If your sense of humor runs like mine, you'll get a kick out of this article on the possible tax ramifications of online transactions that take place in massive multi-player online games like Everquest and UltimaOnline.

You have to love an article that includes this quote from the IRS:

I don't think we're recognizing Dungeon and Dragon currency as legal tender.

The author has an interesting point, though--I have known people who ran thriving businesses on these games making crap like beer, black-leather bustiers, etc. Sure, they only rack up virtual gold pieces or whatever, but as Ebay shows, some of these virtual commodities translate right into real-world money value.

I've always thought this would be a fertile field for academic writing: these virtual worlds always seem to quickly develop real world problems like crime, racism, gangs, even prostitution. A guy in several of my accounting classes at UTA played Ultima (his wife was the one who specialized in making the black-leather outfits online) and always complained about the Japanese gangs that would rove around killing indiscriminately. He and a couple of other players had went in together to buy a house in the capitol city (a major purchase, but it allowed them to store more things). That was great until somebody came up with a way to 'break in' to the virtual mansions and loot them.

I guess when you think about it, tax/law geeks aren't all that far removed from D&D geeks after all.

PS--I couldn't resist. I just brought up Ebay and got a quick spot rate for Ultima's online currency. As of 10:45AM, 20 million in gold pieces had an auction bid of $112.99, while 10 million had a bid of $58.99. This obviously shows that the forex market hasn't quite developed, since the 20M bid is lower than the 10M per gold piece, but still they are remarkably close!! As a sideline, the Deadman may start tracking this stat.


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