The Reality about Earned Income from a Virtual World

ImageOne of the often advertised methods of earning income at home is by creating content within a virtual world. The content’s primary purpose might be simply be for visual enjoyment such as art, buildings, furniture; it might be interactive content such as scripted objects; even commercial real estate of virtual land and rental shops may be a source of income for some. The reasons can vary as to why some would take on such an endeavor such as supplement income, however only a small percentage of those running a business in virtual worlds make enough to cash out real world dollars to pay their living expenses. In fact, for some it doesn’t even cover the electricity used in creating the content nor for their internet access let alone result in a reasonable hourly wage.

However, that is not to say there are some countries where the creating and selling of virtual goods that is later cashed out is equivalent to real world incomes. In various locations the entire revenue of a business is the result of setting up a shared internet connection where workers do nothing but navigate within a virtual world all day to earn a living. Some governments want the opportunity to impose a tax on this virtual income or at a minimum to regulate it in order to prevent money laundering as well as to stop illegal gambling in locations where it is against local regulations. International laws imposed by some countries have even prevented a virtual world from being accessible from another country for political reasons.

The value of such virtual goods is mostly determined by what other avatars are willing to pay for it rather than what the creator wants the price to be. Similar to real-world goods a creator still needs to price their content against competitive products based on it’s unique feature set. While there are some technical mechanisms that may increase the perceived value such as limited time offers or restrictive quantities in the end it is still digital content that the creator has the option to re-release it at a later date with minimal effort which may include making slight improvements. Therefore, when cashing out in great quantities is not feasible many will instead spend their earnings on goods such as decorations for their virtual home or in-world entertainment which benefits other vendors with this reinvestment into the online economy.