Based on passage B, which one of the following is a characteristic of some "games that are intentionally commodified"...

Rachel on April 22, 2018

Please explain

Could you please explain why this is the best answer?

2 Replies

Sarah on June 11 at 02:11AM

I'm also having trouble with this one! I thought the answer was A because of lines 54-55.

Victoria on June 11 at 02:46PM

Hi @rmkrutz@crimson.ua.edu and @sarahpretzel,

This passage and question stem are definitely a bit confusing! Let's start by going through passage B to ensure that we have a full understanding of what it is arguing prior to addressing the question itself.

The first paragraph (lines 26 to 29) tells us that, while most online multiplayer games prohibit the real-world trade of virtual items, some games encourage it. One way that some games encourage this real-world trade of virtual items is by granting participants intellectual property rights in their creations.

The second paragraph (lines 30 to 40) raises questions regarding the various scenarios in which virtual items can be acquired and traded and how these should be taxed in the real world.

The third paragraph (lines 41 to 51) introduces the argument that the accumulation of virtual assets within a game and the in-game trade of virtual items should not be taxed based on the doctrine of income tax law and policy. The author argues that, instead, virtual acquisitions should be treated like property which requires effort to obtain and provides the example of fish pulled from the ocean which are only taxed upon sale.

The fourth paragraph (lines 52 to 58) states that income tax law and policy suggest that the sale of virtual items for real currency and the in-world sale of virtual items for virtual currency in games that are intentionally commodified should be taxed.

The question stem asks us to identify the answer choice which is a characteristic of some "games that are intentionally commodified."

The author presents "games that are intentionally commodified" as those which should be subject to income tax in contrast to those where there is "in-game" trading (line 50) or where players can acquire virtual "loot" in "game worlds" (lines 45 to 46) that the author argues should not be subject to income tax.

This raises the question: what is a game that is "intentionally commodified?"

Based on the contrast presented by the passage, we can determine that a game that is "intentionally commodified" is one where players can sell virtual items for real-world currency. How do we know this? The last paragraph states that transactions which should be taxed in games that are intentionally commodified can be "in-world sales for virtual currency, regardless of whether the participant cashes out." We can infer from line 56, which refers to a player's "cashing out," that, in games that are intentionally commodified, there is the potential for players to convert virtual currency into real currency, or "cash out."

Once we have made the above inference, we can see that these games directly connect to those outlined in the first paragraph; those which "actually encourage [real-world trade in virtual items], for example, by granting participants intellectual property rights in their creations." This is directly restated by answer choice D, which is the correct answer.

Answer choice A is incorrect as it states that "the game allows selling real items for virtual currency." The passage does not discuss the sale of real items; rather, it discusses the "real-world" selling of virtual items for virtual currency or virtual items for real currency.

Hope this is helpful! Please let us know if you have any further questions.