We discussed in class how some people were ready to pay real money to buy virtual goods in online games.
Well it’s seems like microsoft and games publisher won’t miss out on this opportunity to cash in more money.
The Xbox 2, to be realeased sometime next year, will enable “real money” microtransactions (a few cents to a few dollars) to buy virtual goods from virtual stores that will enhance the gamer experience. Microsoft expect an additional $5 million per game in revenue from this service.
Now that money seems to be breaking the barrier between the real and the virtual world, I think it’s worth wondering about a few questions:
Will I be able to get insurance for my virtual space ship. I mean if I spend hundreds of hardly earned real dollars in a real job to buy the best weapons and shield for my virtual space ship I might want to insure it in case my enemy destroy it. I might also want to get life insurance for my Sims character.
Furthermore if somebody vandalize my ship, can I take legal actions against him for vandalizing my property? Is the virtual ship actually my property?
Are virtual goods taxable?
Do I have to declare the online gaming points that I earned in my income tax report?
How much a dollar is worth in virtual gaming points, is there some kind of floating currency exchange rate?
Can I get a loan from my bank to buy this super new reactor for my virtual ship? Will they consider my virtual ship as a good enough guarantee for the loan?
In brief there is a lot of funny questions like this that seems to arise, some might be ridiculous, some might already have answers, but my point is that by introducing real money in virtual gaming world, it seems to me like it’s going to make it even harder for some people to draw a line between the virtual and the real.