Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Monday, December 14, 2009

Pay to Play

Social networking games are growing fast, and as usual with rapid growth you get a few growing pains. One of the tricky points is the way users get virtual cash to spend for in-game items. You can, of course, pay money for virtual cash; you can also earn it through play. It's the third method where problems have arisen -- accepting an offer from a third-party (like a Netflix subscription) in order to get virtual cash. These third-party offers are brokered by other companies, and their methodology can be less than transparent. A class-action lawsuit has been filed and companies like Zynga and Playdom are cracking down on the practice.

Here's the latest wrinkle -- an interest group trying to astroturf some opposition to health care reform using this process. So now games are involved in politics... and so is marketing games. We do live in interesting times.

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