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Video Games & Politics: Let’s Talk Tariffs

Close-up of a Playstation controller

American consumers have heard a lot about tariffs in recent weeks – taxes on imported goods from Mexico have been proposed as a funding source for building a US/Mexico border wall, but Trump’s administration is also considering tariffs on Chinese products. At one point during his presidential campaign, Trump suggested numbers as high as forty-five percent, though numbers that high haven’t been floated since.

As president, Trump initially voiced a plan that would impose tariffs as high as twenty percent, though White House press secretary Sean Spicer later indicated that that number – and the tariff – weren’t set in stone, suggesting that the administration may impose tariffs as low as five percent instead, and may use it in combination with other actions. Economist Douglas Irwin, employed by Dartmouth University, indicated that fifteen-percent or higher tariffs could only be temporary without Congress’s approval, though it is certainly possible that Congress would agree to longer-term taxation.

Money falling

Image Source: 401kcalculator.org

Though nothing has been approved yet, what would a potential tariff mean for consumers? Five percent doesn’t necessarily sound high in comparison to the earlier forty-five and twenty percent taxes, but the Entertainment Software Association is still worried. According to Polygon, they’re working out a contingency plan for if the tariffs are passed, and will release more information in the coming days and weeks.

If passed, the effects of a tariff would be long-reaching: any games developed outside the US would be affected by this increased taxation, as well as all three of the major consoles and PCs, all of which are produced in foreign countries. When tariffs are imposed, companies face a choice: businesses absorb the extra taxation, or the customers will – and as Cog News says, “A $6.00 increase on a new game and upwards of $40 possibly added to the price of a console is no small number.”

Gamers on the GameSpot forums have been going back and forth on whether or not Trump is justified in proposing and enacting such a tariff, citing it as fair retribution for Chinese currency manipulation. Others argue that the consumers suffer in the end and that tariffs don’t work.

What do you think? How will a proposed tariff on games affect your buying habits? Let us know in the comments!

Featured Image Credit: Mark Bonica

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1 Comment on Video Games & Politics: Let’s Talk Tariffs

  1. TheOriginalPhoenix // January 30, 2017 at 10:18 am //

    Gosh I was so happy when games went down to $60 from $65. If they went back up, and only from foreign countries, that’d be really annoying. And it wouldn’t exactly make buying consoles much easier.

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