The government of Japan is looking into the idea of charging platform owners like Apple and Google a Consumption Tax over mobile game in-app purchases.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, the government are trying to increase revenue from the mobile game sector by updating how the current consumption tax model works for games made outside of Japan.
Currently, the tax is paid on the publisher side- however, the Finance Ministry alleges that by virtue of not being Japanese companies, many game publishers don’t pay the consumption tax for revenue gained in Japan.
As a result, the Japanese Government is looking into passing the buck to platform owners, ie Apple and Google to pay the tax instead.
In that sense, it’s safe to speculate that the Finance Ministry is looking into taxing the platform owners’ cut rather than the sale itself, which could in turn lead to the app store taking a bigger cut and driving up sales.
Japan As A Mobile Game Consumer
While the report doesn’t specifically name any companies for dodging taxes, it’s easy to see why the ministry would be getting antsy over the missed revenue- many mobile games are associated with the anime aesthetic yet not produced domestically, instead being developed by Chinese or Korean companies.
More importantly, the Japanese playerbase are often some of the biggest spenders on mobile games: According to AppMagic, Japanese players accounted for 23% of total spending in Genshin Impact in the past month, with a total of 23 million USD.