Posts Tagged ‘social games’

Are you spending real money on virtual social games?

November 30, 2010

I just heard of a new partnership between American Express and Zynga, the company who builds and runs such Social Games like FarmVille.  What do these two have to do with one another you may ask?  Well, American Express is now offering member rewards points to let users pay for virtual currency and goods. (Read the article on Mashable) So, all those years we have been saving up credit card rewards to spend on tangible goods such as airline miles and other retail products, we are now going to spend, spend, spend to receive points towards intangible goods like virtual food for your virtual pig on your virtual farm.   

Working in Social Media, I have a good grasp on the benefits of Facebook, Twitter and the like, for businesses of all shapes and sizes.  I even understand the enjoyment one may get out of playing games like FarmVille (even though I do not play them myself).  However, what really blows my mind is that people will spend their actual hard-earned money to feed Betsy, their virtual cow, or to build a bigger and better farm for their virtual horses and chickens to run around.   In an August 2010 article by Mashable, they reported in 2009, an estimated $2.2 billion in virtual goods were sold to consumers globally, and that number is expected to rocket to over $6 billion by 2013. That’s a LOT of zeros.

Ok, so I know that Social Media sites like Facebook need to make money, and from what they say, advertisements just aren’t cutting it.  But what really makes me concerned, is we (individuals, America, the World) have WAY over $2.2 billion in debt, over and over and over again; we are engaged in war; we are fighting poverty in every town and city in all corners of the world, including our own here in the States; we are unemployed; and we are sitting at home, spending what’s left of our money on virtual games.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the value of entertainment and I know gaming systems have been around for years, but somehow this just takes it to the next level for me!  You aren’t just buying a game once and playing it over and over again.  You are spending money daily to support your virtual gaming habits.  It almost ranks up there with spending money daily on a bad gambling habit doesn’t it?

I’d love to hear your opinion.  Do you play FarmVille or other similar games?  Do you spend money on them?  What do you feel you get out of it?  Do you ever feel guilty for spending money or do you find it’s just another form of entertainment?

Written by Ashley Loftin, Marketing Specialist at AdLinea, LLC

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