The Russian government is considering new ways to regulate the gaming industry. First of all, we are talking about controlling the market of in-game items and skins, which they want to bring out of the gray zone. The authorities do not like that such purchases are not taxed and can be used for money laundering.CS:GO

The Kommersant newspaper reported on such plans of the government on January 28.

“The turnover of in—game items is a full-fledged market, despite the fact that many platforms prohibit the sale of artifacts for real money, restrictions are easily circumvented through P2P payments and cryptocurrencies,” says Boris Yedidin, deputy chairman of the commission for the legal support of the digital economy of the Moscow branch of the Association of Lawyers of Russia (AYUR).

According to Roskomandzor, in-game items can serve for money laundering and their withdrawal abroad. Regulators are also concerned that such goods could be used to finance terrorism. Now it is impossible to track transactions in this market due to lack of control.

Another reason for the increased attention to the sale of in—game items is taxes, or rather their absence. The market is not regulated in any way in accordance with the current legislation, although receiving funds from the sale of such goods can formally be considered income. According to AYUR, the state intentionally “closes this gap”.

Today, most items are sold directly in games (first of all, in fritupley) and bring white income to companies. However, the authorities are concerned about the secondary market of such goods, which generates a lot of money and is not regulated in any way.

The largest platform in this segment is Steam. In the Valve store, users can trade items from games, receiving real money to their accounts. It is officially impossible to withdraw them from the wallet to bank accounts, but there are platforms and exchanges that allow circumventing restrictions.

The cost of goods depends on many factors: rarity, events in the real world, etc. According to SberGames, the most popular games in Russia for buying in—game items are CS:GO, Dota 2 and World of Tanks.

It is difficult to estimate the exact volume of the secondary market of game items. According to EX CORP (operates the popular CS.Money service), the annual turnover of the global market reaches $ 3 billion, and the Russian market — $450 million.

The DMarket service estimates the global market volume slightly higher — at $4 billion. 97% is accounted for by skins for CS:GO, 2% — on Dota 2, and the remaining 1% is distributed between Team Fortress 2, PUBG and Rust.

According to the YUKASSA service, Russian gamers are increasingly buying and selling in-game items every year. In 2021, the turnover of related payments increased by 85%, and the number of purchases increased by 58%. The average check at the same time reached 721 rubles.

How exactly the authorities plan to regulate the market of items is still unknown. However, last year the government actively began discussing various forms of control of the gaming industry. In particular, the second package of measures to support the IT industry was adopted, which implies the creation of a games development fund (similar to the Cinema Fund). According to Kommersant, the authorities are also discussing special tax regimes for developers.