Bloomberg provides an interesting video interview with IFEELGOODS, Inc CEO, Scott Silverman discussing Facebook Credits virtual currency.
An interesting video explaining the benefits of virtual currency over other forms of advertising on the internet.
eBay acquires mobile payments provider and microtransaction specialist Zong for $240 Million. The race to monetize the lucrative mobile/social gaming space is definitely in high gear. Articles and analysis from:
Wall Street Journal ” Zong’s customer list is a who’s who of social gaming and virtual world companies, including Zynga Inc., IMVU Inc., Walt Disney Co.’s Playdom Inc., Stardoll AB, IAC/InterActiveCorp.’s Zwinky and Shanda Games Ltd.’s Mochi Media. Not to mention the company’s arrangement with Facebook Inc. to sell the social network’s virtual currency.”
CNET ” Zong provides a mobile payments platform that facilitates carrier-direct billing for digital goods and services. Users pay for their purchases by entering their mobile phone number and payment is billed to the customer’s wireless service account. “
Forbes interviews Matrix Partners’ Dana Stalder about the rationale for the acquisition.
” There is certainly competition. I think Boku is the most-known competition here in the U.S., but there are two companies in Europe of roughly equal scale: in MindMatics Germany and Allopass France. All of these companies are formidable, but Zong has built the best team with the most direct relationships with carriers and the most converting payment flows in the business. “
” The network says that its Hub Culture Knowledge Brokerage Services has now negotiated a gold production contract in South America sold to a private European buyer using Ven.”
EA intends to integrate video ads into social games. The concept is called “incentivized social video” and the goal for the end user is to obtain points/level up/receive virtual currency (in-game) in exchange for watching an online video ad. On a side note, this is a potentially game changing promotional tool as virtually currency becomes integrated into more online activities besides games. In the long term, the trick is going to be providing some type of login or quiz that will require human interaction and thwart the bots that will be designed to game the system. A short, post viewing quiz that requires login would also provide critical feedback and invaluable data to the advertiser.
Further, a video campaign thoroughly embedded within the entire fabric of a contextually related social game would allow the advertiser to build a much more engaging and relevant experience with the end user if the advertiser is willing to “up the ante” and provide higher points or perhaps customized virtual goods that are earned exclusively by viewing a “series” of online videos and answering questions within an associated quiz widget. If this can be achieved online video advertising tied to rewards and loyalty programs should be frickin’ gi-normous. Articles and analysis from:
Games.com ” You know the feeling all too well. You hit a wall in your favorite Facebook game when you’ve run out of Energy. But instead of putting up for more, Madden suggests that players could watch a video ad for some more Energy. You get more Energy; EA gets its precious moola from advertisers; everyone is happy! Hey, at this point, anything beats shelling out cash. “
Inside Social Games ” With video advertising, Madden says he thinks advertisers can solve the challenges of engagement and scalability in social games. The trick is allowing the user to feel in control of the experience, as in not forcing them to watch an ad while playing game, and to slot the experience into the game in a targeted way. “
Forbes ” EA is already working on a new system that will allow advertisers to dynamically place brands or messaging across platforms and get measurable results that can be compared to traditional television or Internet advertising buys. “
Forbes has an interesting article that discusses the evolution of virtual currency beyond the traditional monetary form of credits. From the article:
” A big takeaway is that while we typically associate currency directly with money, the rise of the social web and quantification is shifting that reality to become more inclusive of kinds of capital that were formerly intangible. “
Zynga rolls out its own reward system RewardVille and virtual currency called “Z-Coins”. Articles and analysis from:
Red Orbit ” Media conglomerates such as Walt Disney Corp. and Time Warner Inc. should be worried, says, BTIG Research analyst, Rich Greenfield. Zynga threatens to take viewers away from their televisions and movies. Disney responded to the threat by purchasing its rival, Playdom for $563 million last year. “
NPR ” The lure this time is “RewardVille,” a show of appreciation aimed at getting players even more absorbed in their online farms, cities, crime rings and poker games. The program unveiled a week ago doles out game points and credits that can be used to buy more virtual goodies on Zynga’s existing games. “
MarketingVox ” These games’ popularity is drawing people’s away from TV sets, movies and other sources of entertainment. “Media has been fragmenting, and Zynga seems to be doing the exact opposite. It is growing at a staggering rate and reaching eyeballs that none of these companies are doing. “
Video: Zynga’s Rewardville trailer
As widely anticipated, Facebook makes their virtual currency, Facebook Credits a mandatory option for all social game developers that use a payment system. Articles and analysis from:
The Wall Street Journal ” Facebook began testing Credits as a form of currency with some developers in 2009. It says they are now used in more than 350 applications from 150 developers, representing more than 70% of virtual goods transactions volume on Facebook.”
WebProNews “ Users and developers shouldn’t react with too much dismay. Other in-game currencies will be still be permitted, and Facebook intends to let developers keep 70 percent of the revenue from transactions that involve Facebook Credits.”
The Street ” While some game developers have their own currency payment methods, most large app companies already use Facebook Credits.”
GigaOM ” Facebook developers will have the option of using their own payment system in addition to Facebook Credits but Facebook will be offering incentives like early access to product features and on-site promotion to help get them on board fully.”
Forbes “ Forex traders and global conspiracy theorists take note: with close to 600 million people using the system, we could be watching a Dollar rival spring to life. To the bunkers! ”
TechCrunch “ This is about more than purple cows and gold coins, too — in the long run, Facebook has a strong incentive to maximize the number of users who are signed up for Credits. Right now the vast majority of Credits are spent on gaming, but it’s very likely that Facebook will eventually begin allowing third-party websites to offer a ‘Pay With Facebook’ option, and that may include everything from digital content to physical goods.”
Video: interviews with social game developers concerning the initial Facebook Credits announcement at the f8 Conference (about 10 months ago)
The following are articles that discuss the explosive growth of Facebook Credits virtual currency.
SFGate discusses the growing momentum of Facebook’s virtual currency, “Facebook Credits”. From the article:
” Facebook members use a regular credit card, PayPal account or mobile phone account to buy a certain value of Facebook Credits, starting with 15 credits for $1.50. Facebook Credits accepts payments using 15 currencies, including dollars, euros and yen.”
Inside Social Games has an excellent article about Facebook making a serious push to get social game players to purchase Facebook Credits virtual currency in 2011. From the article:
” Facebook, then, seems to have prioritized moving all direct payments over to Credits before messing with the variety of alternative payment options. That progression allows it to get Credits in front of the bulk of paying users while giving developers more flexibility around the switch. “
The Independent offers additional prespective on Facebook Credits.
” But some analysts believe the growth of this could become far wider if Facebook created more of its own games. Some predict that eventually Facebook credits could become currency to buy actual real-world products via the Facebook network. ”
SFGate discusses Facebook’s recent 50 Billion valuation within the context of Facebook Credits “tax”.
” Unlike Google or Microsoft, Facebook won’t have to figure out how to diversify its revenue. It just has to sit back and wait for the next Zynga or Groupon, design a way to tax that business (the way it suddenly sprouted Facebook Credits when Zynga got huge), and profit from the tax. ”
AllFacebook discusses forecast that project Facebook Credits eventually(potentially) generating $8 Billion a year.
” That’s exactly what Albert Babayev over at Seeking Alpha has concluded, after developing a model based on the future projections of Facebook revenue, with him expecting Facebook Credits to eventually become an $8 billion a year business. :
Reuters discusses TapJoy’s alternative ads for virtual currency model and the potential impact of Facebook Credits.
” Facebook plans to migrate its entire system over to Facebook Credits, an official virtual currency for all the applications running on the social network. But that hasn’t happened just yet, leading Tapjoy to bring in its best month of virtual currency transactions yet in December, Jessup said. Tapjoy is already prepared for the upcoming switch over to Facebook Credits, and is used on a number of other social networking sites like MySpace and Yahoo. “
Mobile web developer MocoSpace is growing quickly and integrating mobile social games and virtual currency into its growth strategy. Articles and analysis from:
Forbes ” The company has recently taken its mobile Web strategy to its new MocoSpace Game Platform. It is allowing third-party developers to create browser-based games in HTML5, instead of native apps to each phone.”
SFGate ” By building games on the mobile browser, developers can reach more players’ social graph and allow games to gain popularity on a wider range of mobile devices. “
VentureBeat ” MocoSpace was founded as an entertainment destination on the mobile internet in 2005 and has more than 15 million registered users who view about 3 billion pages a month.”