As social networking proliferates in our daily lives, we can’t ignore the fact that there are some who just use these sites to play online games where they can build and expand their farms or cities or take care or virtual pets, or wage war against other players. This is their form of socialization and with that, some of these players go the extra mile and actually spend real money, just so they can easily upgrade or buy things for their games. People use PayPal or their credit cards to purchase these things and now, more are seeing that there is real money in virtual gold coins.
Capital One, a U.S. based bank holding company specializing in credit cards, home loans, auto loans, banking, and savings products, teams up with Zynga to be integrated into three of their games: FarmVille with 36.5 million active players, CityVille which has 74.2 million active players and Pioneer Trail with 20.8 million active players. Back in June, Capital One was already integrated in FarmVille for “double mastery points.” Now, CityVille players who open a Capital One bank account can get a bonus decorative item, energy and experience points. FarmVille players participating in Capital One’s farm will get a limited-edition, breedable goat, which is highly valued in the game since it introduced animal mastery, and Zynga will soon launch animal breeding pens as well. Pioneer Trail has a Capital One-branded quest to assist the goat in finding his lost band mates. Players can then earn quest rewards, including a limited-edition Capital One goat.
American Express (AmEx), an American multinational financial services corporation, acquired Sometrics, the virtual currency platform and in-game payments provider for $30 million, though both parties declined to provide further information regarding the deal. Sometrics will be integrated into the Enterprise Growth Group, and will be used within American Express’ Serve digital payments platform to incorporate virtual currencies and loyalty programs. Sometrics’ platform helps game developers market free-to-play online games and monetize virtual currency with a consumer destination site and in-game payment solutions.
And several others are looking to virtual currencies and social platforms to extend their real monetization efforts. Blvd Media Group recently announced a deal with Embee Mobile to launch the popular virtual currency monetization platform, the rewardTool, on EmbeePay in Facebook. The rewardTool will enable users to earn virtual credits, Embee Points, by completing highly targeted advertiser offers. Embee Points can be used to redeem mobile airtime and other value-added services such as music, games, Internet access and gift cards from leading online retailers such as Amazon, Fandango, and Groupon.
PayPal also recently partnered with Blizzard for Diablo 3 and Microsoft for Xbox 360. The tie up will allow users to purchase virtual goods directly in the game got Diablo 3 and pay directly in their Xbox 360 consoles.
“Gamers want to focus on gaming and prefer an in-game payments solution that’s convenient, easy and secure,” says PayPal’s senior director of emerging opportunities, Carey Kolaja. “Last month we told you that our research has shown that over 70% of gamers are PayPal users, and we believe that’s because we understand that central principle.”
GamersFirst partnered with Adknowledge to deliver the AdStation program, which allows gamers to earn in-game currency by completing extra-game tasks like watching videos, taking surveys, and subscribing to various online services. This generates advertising leads for Adknowledge clients, and a new GamersFirst press release calls it “a great opportunity for us to get our titles in front of their vast global network.”