Facebook credits as gifts

03 Sep 2010|Added Value

Earlier this week Facebook announced that Facebook credit gift cards would be available at stores. Here is a link to the announcement on popular tech blog Read Write Web. Yes, you will be able to use real money to buy virtual money at a Target store near you. Obviously, this means that parents and friends can buy Facebook gift cards for their loved ones to splurge on virtual goods on Facebook.  I am assuming that many people will give Facebook gift cards during the upcoming holiday season.

If you would like your friends to water your virtual crops on Farmville or own a digital farm next to your farm, but if they don’t seem too willing to do it, all you have to do now is buy a Facebook credit gift card, and they will be obliged to help.  As for my friends, I would like to state in clear words, “I’ll not water your crops even if you buy me a gift card.”

On a serious note, this is a clear indication that the virtual goods economy is taking hold. The virtual economy has been growing at a phenomenal rate over the last 2 years, especially since the growth of social gaming on Facebook, and we can expect to see this growth to continue as location based social gaming takes off.  In a report published by the Virtual Goods Summit, the virtual goods economy in the US in 2009 was estimated to be over $1 billion.

With Facebook having integrated location into its platform, we will likely see the growth of social games that leverage user location for social gaming on the Facebook platform. Location darlings like Foursquare and Gowalla have proved that location applications can be successful with the integration of game mechanics. Location games are moving a step further in turning real world places into games with new entrants such as MyTown. MyTown is available on the iPhone platform and uses location as an input for a game. But it moves away from simple check-ins and  allows players to buy and own real world locations, and even collect rent when others check in.

From my perspective, it is interesting to see the virtual economy grow so big so fast even though nothing tangible is ever exchanged. But it points to a shift where our offline identity is increasingly intertwined with our online activities.  Growing numbers of people are ready to pay for virtual items because we are spending more and more of our time online.

prev next