Mega corporations’ massive plans for The Metaverse may not go as well as intended. The free-form virtual worlds that companies like Meta are envisioning are proposed to be immersive lands for work and play. However, are people going to want to engage in a virtual land where metaverse taxes exist?
Metaverse Taxes are now a thing
Reported by Ars Technica, metaverse taxes are already a reality. While not all virtual worlds currently have taxation systems, one of the biggest immersion platforms is already adding systems to charge users taxes.
Metaverse taxation is starting with the almost two-decades old MMO platform: Second Life. While developer Linden Labs doesn’t describe itself as a metaverse, the platform is the best example of what self-described metaverse platforms are.
Following recent legal battles, Linden Labs has announced the introduction of sales tax on in-game products for the first time since 2003. Purchases of in-game items, currency and options like name changes will now have additional tax costs.
The change comes after new legislation allowed U.S. States to charge companies sales tax for completely digital items. As a result, Linden Labs has decided to pass those charges onto its player base.
“[We’ve] done our best to shield our residents from these taxes as long as possible, but we are no longer able to absorb them,” the developer said. “This is news we don’t enjoy sharing, but for the health of the business and of Second Life, we can no longer continue absorbing these tax burdens. Thank you for your understanding and your continued support of Second Life."
A new issue for metaverses, games and digital services
Second Life isn't introducing sales tax additives until March 31st. However, the introduction of taxes to the metaverse precursor could have massive ramifications for upcoming metaverse launches in the future.
Digital platforms, such as Second Life, have long benefited from sales tax freedom, which encouraged players to build lives and careers inside the platforms. While the introduction of additional payments won't stop most from enjoying the service, it will definitely have an effect.
With this in mind, when Meta and other companies form their metaverses, it will be harder to acquire paid workers to create and populate their worlds. Whales, those who spend ridiculous amounts, will still be there, but will the rest?