The realization that people are making real-world earnings from goods and services offered in online multi-player games has been the subject of news reports, and inspired Charles Stross’ deftly-handled Halting State.
Even the government, in the person of IRS Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson, has finally caught a sniff of the escaping revenue:
Her report said that about $1 billion in real dollars changed hands in computer-based environments during 2005. Additionally, more than 16 million people are said to have active subscriptions in these worlds, “many of which have their own virtual economies and currencies.”
A Chaos Manor reader submitted that link and Jerry Pournelle answered with pointed humor:
Astonishing. Is there anything left to tax? Must we send quarterly withholding for killing monsters on World of Warcraft? Will Blizzard automate this so that whenever you kill a monster it shows something like “your share of the loot is 1 Gold 4 Silver with 30 pieces of silver withheld”?
(Speaking again of Charlie Stross, he will be doing a Q&A and a signing at Pandemonium Books in Cambridge, MA on February 10 at 7 p.m.)
[Thanks to Steve Davidson for the Stross link.]