Online gaming giant Valve Corporations said on Friday that its online gaming distribution channel Steam will begin collecting a 7-per-cent tax on Thai gamers starting from October 15 following the government’s guidance to ease the public debt burden.
Valve stated on its website that Thailand will be added to a list of countries from which tax will be collected.
Other South-East Asian countries on the list include Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.
The gamer group Sheapgamer said that other platforms that accept Thai currency, such as Origin, also announced plans to collect the tax.
In September, the Finance Minister said Thailand will seek higher tax revenue from e-commerce and e-service taxes from overseas platforms to help ease the burden of public debt.
The current level of the Thai ratio of public debt to GDP was 57 per cent as of August. It is expected to reach 63 per cent next year after the government raised the debt cap from 60 to 70 per cent.
Many Thai netizens voiced their opinions on the matter, saying that the tax should be managed efficiently to serve the people, rather than being spent on needless items, particularly those linked to military expenses.
“It won’t matter if the government uses gaming taxes to fund esport,” said a comment on Sheapgamer’s Facebook page. “But no one would want to pay for the water cannon trucks or weaponry.”
Games on Steam’s Thailand store have traditionally cost less than other territories due to low tax rates and because of attempts by developers to offer an alternative in the local market which was previously saturated with pirated copies.