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Korea: Virtual Currency Just As Good As Cash

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 30 comments

South Korea ruled that virtual money is the equivalent of real-world money.

Gamers in South Korea may be dancing in the streets, as the government has now ruled that game currencies can be legally converted into real world cash. The only catch is that the money cannot stem from "luck-based" online gambling titles such as Poker or other card games. Still, this could mean that MMO players could earn a living online, killing beasts or other players and snagging loot to cash in for real world bucks.

But while purchasing and selling virtual money is nothing new across the globe, the South Korean Supreme Court's ruling specifies that virtual currency is the equivalent of real-world money. Unlike gambling, players of MMO's--and other games using in-world currency--earned the virtual funds through skill and hard work. Therefore, it's argued that gamers have a right to convert their hard-earned funds.

According to The Korea Times, the decision stems from a recent acquittal of two gamers indicted on charges of illegally earning real-world cash by selling in-game currency (Aden) within the MMORPG Lineage to other gamers. The duo racked in nearly 20 million won by selling 234 million worth of Aden; the virtual funds were traded at a ratio of one million Aden for 8,000 won.

But the new ruling also has a drawback: the government plans to get its fair share of tax. In September 2009, the government ruled that profits from the trading of virtual funds should be subject to 10-percent value added tax. Unfortunately, gamers in the States may never see a legalized cyber funds exchange simply because of tax and security issues. Many subscription services currently ban players for selling in-game funds for real-world cash.

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  • 17 Hide
    thepinkpanther , January 20, 2010 7:11 AM
    take that 9 year old IT kid who says PC games are a waste of time.
  • 12 Hide
    cjl , January 20, 2010 9:19 AM
    That's ridiculous.

    People don't get paid for hard work. They get paid for doing something useful. Actual farming makes food. In game farming makes....nothing. If someone else in the game is moronic enough to pay them actual money for a transfer of virtual funds, that's fine, but nobody should be obligated to accept virtual funds that were obtained through useless labor as equal to real money.
Other Comments
  • 7 Hide
    mrhappy50 , January 20, 2010 6:32 AM
    COUNT ME IN!!! now i just have to remember those cheat codes.. Hmmmmmmm........
  • 9 Hide
    martel80 , January 20, 2010 6:33 AM
    Quote:
    earned the virtual funds through skill and hard work

    What they forgot to mention at the court is the fact that most of these farmers don't earn money through actively playing the game but by setting up bots (L2Walker) which do that automatically (I don't consider this a hard work).
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 20, 2010 6:57 AM
    Man I wish I was living in Korea now. Play games, have fun, and live poor but able to survive. Wife will kill me though
  • 1 Hide
    redkachina , January 20, 2010 7:02 AM
    martel80What they forgot to mention at the court is the fact that most of these farmers don't earn money through actively playing the game but by setting up bots (L2Walker) which do that automatically (I don't consider this a hard work).


    IIRC, I watched one of the TV shows few years back, and they actually have these farms up and running all day long (farming + training)and they are getting paid doing so~obviously not by using bots. correct me if I'm wrong but a lot of current MMO's have anti bots features to prevent usage of bots.. We're talking about South Koreans here LoL..where do you think they got all those skills playing game.. not by using bots of course!
  • 0 Hide
    alikum , January 20, 2010 7:04 AM
    showmethemoney 1000000000
  • 17 Hide
    thepinkpanther , January 20, 2010 7:11 AM
    take that 9 year old IT kid who says PC games are a waste of time.
  • 0 Hide
    one-shot , January 20, 2010 7:31 AM
    Next it'll be Space Cash that's taxed.
  • 1 Hide
    Maxor127 , January 20, 2010 9:00 AM
    Seriously... that's pretty retarded and also awesome at the same time. I say, if people are retarded enough to pay for stuff like that, let them. It's about the only thing that would get me interested in wasting my time on an MMO. Except now, MMOs will be flooded with gold farming bots, and hacking and cheating will become more prevalent, and the world will probably economically collapse since it's putting value in worthless, no-existent funds. Look how well that went for Wall Street.

    But I feel I seriously need to get in on the action. I'd gladly pay 10% tax running bots and farming gold, although I wouldn't know the first thing about doing it. I could see getting together with groups of other people and pooling money together and sharing the profits. But the only company of any value would probably be Blizzard and games like WoW and probably Diablo. And I'm sure they'd still crack down and ban for this sort of thing, and probably figure out a system to prevent it.
  • 12 Hide
    cjl , January 20, 2010 9:19 AM
    That's ridiculous.

    People don't get paid for hard work. They get paid for doing something useful. Actual farming makes food. In game farming makes....nothing. If someone else in the game is moronic enough to pay them actual money for a transfer of virtual funds, that's fine, but nobody should be obligated to accept virtual funds that were obtained through useless labor as equal to real money.
  • 0 Hide
    silverblue , January 20, 2010 9:58 AM
    Are we talking Lineage or Lineage II? In any case, it's Adena... and extortionate for those prices. £11,000 for 234m Adena? That can't be right, especially considering 234m isn't impressive if we're talking Lineage II (I never played the first).
  • 1 Hide
    SRRAE , January 20, 2010 10:09 AM
    This opens up a can of worms if some one seals items in game and then sells for real money.
  • 1 Hide
    tstebbens , January 20, 2010 10:55 AM
    Quote:
    Unlike gambling, players of MMO's--and other games using in-world currency--earned the virtual funds through skill and hard work.


    Excuse me? So playing cash poker for a living isn't skillful and hard work??
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 20, 2010 12:10 PM
    I bet they can just live without eat and drink. maybe plug them self in an electric outlet all day long play that video game?
  • 1 Hide
    djab , January 20, 2010 12:20 PM
    That is really sad.

    I thought games were made to take people mind off the real life, to entertain people.
    I do not like to think about money after I have paid for a game and installed it. Maybe I think about expansion pack/dlc or at worst about a monthly subscription.
    But I hate gold farmer, in game spam for gold or in game ads related to real life money.
    I do not want virtual world polluted with real world money or gold farmer.
    I would prefer a single player game with clever NPC rather than an MMO polluted with people "playing" or I should say working for real life money.

    And for people paying for these services, where is the fun if you are just paying for items/gold instead of playing the game to find/win them. If grinding is not for you, just chose another game (or at worst generous in game friends).
  • 1 Hide
    djab , January 20, 2010 12:24 PM
    And of course governments are ok with everything when they can tax it and make big money.
  • 0 Hide
    marraco , January 20, 2010 12:51 PM
    Kuroro LuciferMan I wish I was living in Korea now. Play games, have fun, and live poor but able to survive. Wife will kill me though


    Live poor?

    Update.
  • 0 Hide
    nirvanabah , January 20, 2010 1:04 PM
    SilverblueAre we talking Lineage or Lineage II? In any case, it's Adena... and extortionate for those prices. £11,000 for 234m Adena? That can't be right, especially considering 234m isn't impressive if we're talking Lineage II (I never played the first).


    If its Lineage 1 that's not a lot of Adena either...dunno who the hell paid that but i'd gladly renew my old account and sell all 600m and some change I had for even half of that!
  • 0 Hide
    sliem , January 20, 2010 3:02 PM
    Holy testicle tuesdays, batman.
    This will not bode well.
  • 1 Hide
    tenor77 , January 20, 2010 3:25 PM
    What about my Stanley nickles?

    I could just imagine doing income taxes there?
    Did you own your own business? No.
    Did you slay any Ogres? Oh hell yes!
  • 0 Hide
    Gin Fushicho , January 20, 2010 4:57 PM
    But...But... I want money! D= I find rare items all the time in MMO's and just Hoarde them , now I wanna sell them!
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