Thursday, February 23, 2012
Diablo 3's 83% regressive tax system
Blizzard is still fiddling with their Diablo 3 real-money auction house, and recently introduced some major changes. And as Azuriel remarks on his blog, these changes amount to Blizzard taking an 83% cut from any auction posted a minimum price. The minimum amount you can sell anything for is $1.50, and while you don't pay anything if that sell fails, you'll pay $1.25 if the sale succeeds.
For me that is just further proof that the only one that will get rich from the real-money auction house in Diablo 3 is Blizzard. If you want to "flip" something, buying low and selling high, your sales price needs to be at least $2.75 for an item you bought at minimum price. Selling your average loot drop for real money will either fail because nobody wants to pay $1.50 for a minor item, or end you with just 25 cents. As people can only have 10 simultaneous auctions, they will rather sell only expensive stuff and not even bother with the cheap things. And the buyers will ask themselves why it is called a "micro-transaction" if most things on the AH cost $10 or more.
This is a stupid regressive tax system, where cheap stuff is taxed at 83%, and expensive stuff is taxed at a much lower rate. The real-money AH will resemble Tiffany's more than Walmart, with relative low numbers of items posted at relatively high prices. For once Blizzard should have copied CCP and hire an economist before making changes like this.