Growing Problem? Facebook FarmVille & Your Credit Card

FarmVilleOne United Kingdom mom saw for herself how addictive Facebook’s FarmVille social game can be when she opened her credit card statement. Her 12-yeard-old son racked up $830 on her HSBC credit card buying up the game’s virtual “credits” with real-world plastic.
The story of the boy’s tab on mom’s card made international headlines yesterday.
The woman could not get the credit card issuer to excuse the charges, unless she filed a police report – which would require calling the cops on her own child. But she hasn’t. And she is left to ponder the growing power of Facebook and social gaming.
Facebook came under some criticism for monetizing FarmVille last year as the social media network continues to develop other gaming applications, looking forward to more revenue-generating channels.
Facebook has decided that its cut will be 30 percent of revenue from game and application developers who integrate Facebook Credits – its own cross-application currency – into their programs.
The estimated 84 million FarmVille users have an ever growing list of payment options for using real money to pay for the game’s virtual currency: “farm cash” or “farm currency.” FarmVille players are given virtual coins to set up their farm, and the earn revenue from crops to maintain or prosper in the farming community. But they can accelerate experience by buying, instead of earning.
Users can pay directly by credit card or through the secure payment service PayPal, or use Facebook Credits.
And last month, FarmVille producer Zynga announced that prepaid game cards are available for purchase at more than 12,800 well-known retail stores, including 7-Eleven, Best Buy, GameStop and Target.
They can also be used for Zynga games Mafia Wars and YoVille.

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