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Virtual Showdown

Social gaming giant Zynga goes for the jugular and files for a patent for  non-redeemable virtual currency. Is this move intended as a bargaining chip with Facebook or something much larger? Articles and analysis from:

TechCrunch ” While at first glance it seems like the patent’s strictures only pertain to poker chips, it explicitly references Zynga games Zynga Poker and Farmville in its “Examples of Embodiments” section, which delinates both “Non-Redeemable Virtual Currency” and “Non-Redeemable Virtual Poker Chips” as inventions that Zynga is claiming the rights to.”

AllFacebook ” For Facebook the stakes are higher. The social networking site earns a 30% cut every time Credits are used to buy virtual goods in a game. With the burgeoning popularity of social games on Facebook, it would be a serious blow if it lost this growing source of revenue.”

VentureBeat ” The patent filing, on which Zynga CEO Mark Pincus’s name is listed as one of the inventors, is arguably defensive, potentially orestalling intellectual-property claims against Zynga. But it could also give Zynga leverage in its negotiations with Facebook, the social network which connects most of Zynga’s players with each other.”

Online-Casinos.com ” Zynga’s patent application points out however that its virtual-currency uniqueness is that the currency exchange is only one-way. Players can put money in but they can’t take it out thus circumventing the online gambling dilemma.”

Tom’s Guide ” Essentially the company may be trying to patent the process of purchasing virtual money that cannot be re-sold. The patent also seems to indicate that Zynga may implement a fraud prevention system to inhibit players from using cash to purchase virtual funds from other players within Zynga products.”

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Filed under Facebook, Facebook Credits, social games, virtual currency, Zynga