Posts Tagged ‘world of warcraft’

The perfect crime?

June 25, 2009

Have you ever thought about pulling off the perfect heist? Of course, there’s always the pesky police to worry about… but what if they refused to get involved? What if you could steal a million pounds with no risk of being caught?

Step up the latest trend in online crime. This time the victims are players of increasingly popular MMPORGs like World of Warcraft and Everquest. More and more Trojans are now being developed to steal players’ account passwords, so that thieves can get their hands on high-level characters and equipment. These can then be sold through online auction sites for large sums of money – reportedly some players will pay up to $1000 for a good character. Wash, rinse and repeat a few hundred times and you have a lot of money indeed.

As for the police, a player reporting such a crime might well meet with confusion and the injunction to “get a girlfriend” (or a life). It can even be argued that no crime has been committed because many developers state that in-game content remains their property…

Now the taxman is after virtually everything you own…

November 28, 2008
Show me the money...

Show me the money...

The credit crunch is now biting everywhere, it seems. Around the globe, the taxmen are turning their attention to the unregulated trading in virtual worlds.

In October, China’s tax authority announced its intention to make sure they were receiving their cut of this new virtual economy. Sweden and South Korea have also moved to clarify the tax rules in this area. Many of these transactions are already legally taxable in the UK, but are generally ignored (for the moment).

The problem is that either items or currency from many virtual worlds, like World of Warcraft, Eve Online or Second Life, can be exchanged for real world money – often through trading sites built into the worlds themselves. In China, there are even “gold farms”, where thousands of workers repeat actions in World of Warcraft to earn gold that can then be traded for real money.

But how do you tax transactions on goods that don’t exist in the real world? Well, the most obvious place to catch them is when virtual items are sold on eBay or other trading sites. Ironically, it is very easy to tax virtual transactions, because they are all logged and monitored by the world’s designers!

Slightly more controversial are plans to tax transactions where virtual goods are exchanged for virtual money – and no “real” currency changes hands. Unfortunately, since the “virtual” currency still has a real value, it can still legally be taxed.

Of course, the problem could be solved by banning virtual trades for real money. This might also stop a few more people from spending so much time in Warcraft looking for that +46 throwing axe of doom…

Just a thought.

Gnome rest for the wicked!

October 22, 2008

Has anybody noticed the suspiciously high amount of gnome activity lately? Last March, this video surfaced showing a gnome quite creepily crossing a road in Argentina:


In August, this Daily Mail story told how a garden gnome was stolen, taken on a round-the-world trip and returned home complete with photo album. Now, the creepy Argentinean gnome is back!

My PR side thinks this could all be part of an elaborate, if extremely patient, viral marketing campaign.  The creepy gnome videos certainly have gone viral but is an organisation behind them? There were rumours that the gnome could have been a Grunt from the Halo game franchise. Perhaps rivals World of Warcraft are behind it, showing off one of the races in its game? I really hope so – it’s great to see good virals done well.

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