Amazon’s MMO Players Face Higher Taxes Than Jeff Bezos Does IRL

Jeff Bezos smiles with New World in the background.

Image: Gareth Cattermole / Amazon Games / Kotaku (Getty Images)

Last week, New World‘s patch notes indicated that taxes on Trade Post transactions would increase from 2.5 percent to a whopping 5 percent. What’s funny about this situation is that the MMO is published by Amazon Games, which is owned by Jeff Bezos. Last year, ProPublica reported that Jeff Bezos paid a true tax rate of 0.98% from 2014-2018. Which means that if you want to trade on Amazon’s MMO, you’ll be paying five times the tax rate that Bezos pays in real life.

New World is an MMO where you’re stranded on a magical island. Magical beings want to kill you, and you have to craft your way into sustainable civilization. Trade is a big part of the player-driven economy. Which is a shame, because this game keeps running into economy-breaking issues like free golda deflation crisis that led to the rise of bartering, and pausing the economy over gold duplication cheats. So presumably, the developers are looking to prevent any kind of economic meltdown before it can happen.

Here’s why players are paying more taxes: A community manager says that New World has been getting more players and more coin is being poured into the economy. To compensate for these changes, the tax rate for using the Trade Post in-game marketplace has been increased. Lost Sacks of Coins have had their contents reduced to 250, and they can no longer be found in elite chests. Iron Hides will also drop half as frequently in order to increase their gold value within the economy. Yyou could also argue, though, that these changes are here to ensure that players are grinding for even longer periods of time.

Of course, Bezos isn’t personally rubbing his little goblin hands together as he cranks the video game tax rates back and forth. But it’s funny that the developers care so deeply about balancing fake taxes while the richest man in the world thinks that he’s above petty matters such as “the public good.”

Billionaires don’t play by the same rules as the rest of us. According to two ProPublicaBezos’ fortune increased by $127 billion from 2006 to 2018, but he only reported $6.5 billion of it. So he only paid $1.4 billion in personal taxes to the feds—which is effectively 1.1 percent.

Both New World and the Real World are alike in one respect—the system is designed to keep workers at acceptable levels of poverty. At least the MMO is honest about it.

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