GAMING BLEND

Blizzard Will Take 15% Cut Of Diablo 3 Real-Money Auctions

By William Usher 2012-05-01 15:28:39 discussion comments
The real-money auction house has been a highly contested feature in Diablo 3. It enables gamers to buy and sell virtual items for either virtual currency or real-life money. Well, Blizzard plans to tax all the auction house trades with a 15% transaction fee.

Ars Technica lays out the details real nice and neat for gamers to understand, basically reiterating what's in the RMAH guide on Blizzard's site, and it boils down to this: Every transaction, whether it be with in-game gold or real money, will be taxed. Items auctioned with in-game currency will be taxed 15% of the final trade. All real-money items auction off will be taxed $1 as a transaction fee. All real-world money acquired from in-game trading that gamers plan to transfer to their PayPal, credit card, etc,. will be taxed by 15%.

In addition to this, all trades in real-world money will be capped at $250 and only 10 concurrent items can be listed by a single user on the auction house at a time. So you can't auction off an item for $1,000, and you can't have like 100 items on the auction house. However, there are obvious loopholes that could be exploited, such as farming with a team and selling four sets of unique items for $250 a piece. With the game's eBay-esque buyout feature, you could easily make $1,000 on four unique items, and after transferring the currency to your PayPal, with Blizzard's 15% tax rate, you would net yourself a sizeable $850 profit. I don't know about anyone else, but that's some legit money for only four items.

Don't get all starry-eyed with money lust, though. Blizzard has some security measures in place to prevent "farming" of unique items. They have a set amount of uniques, and they cannot be duplicated, hence the always-on connection. Gamers cannot mod the game to increase, add or modify the existing cache of items to try to sell for a high price on the auction house. With the game using an MMO network structure, gamers will only be able to acquire items serverside. No shortcuts.

What's more is that Blizzard further thought it through to have large quantities of commonly traded commodities appear in streamlined search lists, so you can find potions, buffs, and other consumable entities via a "best price versus quantity" listing, as opposed to having to search through the listing of overpriced items to find 10 potions for 100 coins, or whatever.

The search feature is also comprehensively similar to eBay, with an added "Buyout" type feature enabling gamers with a low tolerance for patience to buy what they need when they need it.

I can easily see now why the South Korean government did not want this feature in the game. There's already the issue in F2P games with people over-spending or "paying to win", now imagine people being in the position to "buy to own" using real-world currency as a substitute. Hence, for now, the RMAH will not be launching in Korean territories for Diablo 3, however Blizzard has not ruled out the inclusion of the feature later on down the road.

Many gamers have expressed concerns over the taxation rules and regulations in the Americas, especially regarding how much you can make and how that's going to play into the money making aspects.

The Real-Money Auction House will launch a week after the game's May 15th launch. The game is not specifically region locked, however, the RMAH is region specific and broken down into three territories, Asia (which will not be active at launch), Europe and the Americas (which also covers Oceania territories).

You can pre-order Diablo 3 right now, or learn more about the Real-Money Auction House by paying a visit to the Official Website. And please, please, please remember, if you see that super rare Sword of the Oblivion for $250 dollars and you don't have the in-game currency to buy it, take a deep breath, calm your fingers and Hold the Wallet.
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