You know a technology has hit mainstream when it’s mentioned by members of government, traditionally the very last people to ever get on a new technology bandwagon. For Australian Massively Multiplayer Role-Players, this is a mixed blessing, not unlike being insulted by the girl you secretly had a crush on at school: on one hand, the Australian Tax Office knows who you are. On the other hand, they say things like this:
“If you are getting a monetary benefit then it’s not treated any differently– normal rules apply.” … “The real world value of a transaction may form part of your taxable income, even if it is in Linden dollars.”
Australia has made the decision to tax the currency used in Second Life.
This is some very good advertising for Linden Labs, which has been trying very hard to make Second Life seem as close to an alternate universe as they can. The fact that it’s a slightly dodgy (albeit hugely extensible) 3D environment sitting on a collection of servers somewhere is apparently neither here nor there for a lot of people. Particularly the people who are spending $7 million a month on virtual goods and services there.
It’s also a very strange decision on the part of the Australian Tax Office, although Linden dollars do have an exchange rate.
As for Second Life itself, I remain very much not sucked in, unless someone can convince why I should be?