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MMO Weekly 23/12

23 Dec 2008  by   Paul Younger
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My dear, dear fellow game geeks, allow me to congratulate you:  you’ve stumbled upon the most over-rated weekly article in all of game journalism.  Sure, MMO Weekly is getting rave reviews, and the literati of both the UK and the US are all aglow, singing its praises.  But is this weekly write-up worth all the accolades?  Most assuredly, the answer is no.  So, without further ado, let’s see what’s up in virtual space.  ;)

In a mind-numbing attempt to manufacture additional tax revenue out of thin air, New York governor David Paterson has proposed taxing virtual goods.  The proposal specifically mentions music, video, and video games.  Although virtual property of all kinds (consider all those microtransactions that you’ve been making in an attempt to make your Maple Story character all “leet”) isn’t mentioned, it’s certainly implied.  Read it for yourself:

“Close Digital Property Taxation Loophole. Imposes state and local sales tax on purchases of prewritten software, digital audio, audio-visual and text files, digital photographs, games, and other electronically delivered entertainment services to achieve tax parity. For example, with the passage of this bill, a book, song, album, or movie would be subject to sales tax no matter if it was bought at a brick and mortar store or downloaded online.”   

The big debate, at this point, is whether David Paterson is 1) a visionary who is going to close the budget gap for the state of New York, 2) a reincarnated Ebenezer Scrooge, or 3) the Anti-Christ.  Feel free to offer up your opinion in the comments. 

CCP continues to be one of the most innovative MMO companies on the planet, and its in-game holiday festivities are no exception.  It didn’t introduce some kind of strange, deep-space Santa Klaus into Eve Online, or foist a quest involving the gathering of interstellar Christmas cookies onto its customers.  Every other game is doing that kind of thing, so Eve Online did something different.  Instead of something conventional or ordinary, CCP went for something simpler and much more in the spirit of this uncontrolled PvP-happy game.  So it installed free snowball launchers onto every single ship in the game. 

It turns out to be a bold, fun, and very popular move.  Eve pilots across the galaxy powered up their launchers and began to duke it out, just like they did over Christmas break when they were kids.  A gigantic snowball fight is a great idea, even if it takes place in space.  You can read more details here, or catch a nice vid of these interstellar hijinks right here

We recently covered Sony Online Entertainment’s introduction of “Station Cash” into several of its MMOs.  Station Cash is a type of real money transaction (RMT, better known as “gold selling”), meaning players can spend real currency to purchase in-game items.  SOE has long stood against any kind of RMT in its games, and has gone to great lengths to stop anything related to selling virtual items for real cash. This includes both bannings and legal action against offending companies.  These actions were often accompanied by moral outrage on the part of Sony spokesmen that people would try these kinds of shenanigans in its MMOs.  That is, of course, until SOE figured out a way that it could profit from it.  Then it suddenly became OK.   

Oddly, one of the more strange stories to come about this week is this rant by a very senior editor over at Allakhazam.  It seems that the editor in question, Andrew “Tamat” Beegle, is seriously upset about the above-mentioned introduction of Station Cash into Sony MMOs.  Beegle goes on at some length, and with serious ire, about how this has a significant negative effect on the games, and is unfair to players who don’t buy SOE’s in-game enhancements. 

The wanderinggoblin.aat=eG

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