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Earning Virtual Currency on your Credit Cards 47

ptorrone wrote to mention an article on the MAKE blog, where the author theorizes that perhaps someday instead of frequent flyer miles we'll get WoW gold or EQ plat as a reward for using our credit cards. From the article: "It's not a matter of if, just when - credit card companies, Pay Pal, Amazon, eBay and the individual "gaming" companies eventually bridge the real and virtual currencies with loyalty programs and private label credit cards - there's too much money out there to -not- to do this. This 'demographic' is the battleground. The more you spend, the more you earn, sorta. Virtual $ isn't a crappy electronics doo-dad, it's just a number in a computer. Maybe you'll get some discounted airline tickets when you hit level 60 too, you deserve it! Earn your way to a new graphics card, why not."
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Earning Virtual Currency on your Credit Cards

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  • Fiat Money (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dolly_Llama ( 267016 ) * on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @03:03PM (#15019683) Homepage
    Virtual $ isn't a crappy electronics doo-dad, it's just a number in a computer.

    Dollars, and any other fiat money are too. Just cause it's printed and you can carry some in your wallet doesn't give it any intrinsic value - only the one that we agree to give it.
  • by courtarro ( 786894 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @03:24PM (#15019881) Homepage
    This sounds like a really bad financial move, considering the stability of online systems' finances. What happens when you buy $2000 worth of computer equipment on your card, only to have WoW roll back to before you made the purchase and wipe out your side earnings? Until online currency has the same financial and legal protections as true currency, stay away. No thanks.
  • by MagicDude ( 727944 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @03:38PM (#15020005)
    IANAL either, but I had a different view on gold selling. I always thought that gold selling and such wasn't about selling tangible comidities, but rather about hiring a guy to play the game with you. Everything in the game is "owned" by blizzard, and by paying our monthly fee, we're allowed to utilize their environment and virtual items by the rules they set down. So when we buy gold, we're paying some guy to "be our friend" in the game and play along with us, which could range from helping us in a raid, to trading these items. Thus I submit that gold sellers and such are not comidity brokers selling items, but are gaming assistants who render their services as desired by the purchasing party within the game universe for a set fee, and thus they should be taxed as any other business would provides only services and no products.
  • Bad Premise (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rydia ( 556444 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @03:48PM (#15020087)
    Not only does this pressupose that there are enough people out there that a) play MMOGs and b) want to buy gold for said MMOGs over current cost, but also that marketing and transaction costs given there IS an audience wouldn't swallow any benefit, making the card worthless for all but the heaviest spenders.

    Even if the market DID exist, card companies are only going to want a certain number of brands/external services in their card stable, anyway. So, what percentage of the small amount of the population that would shell out for MMOG gold would make the gold their first-third priority? Over Disney, perhaps. Over cash back? Over groceries? Gas? Travel?

    Plus, a lot of the gold business isn't for the hardcore... it's for those who just want a little boost. If you're only cashing in twice over your career, why the heck would you get a CREDIT CARD to accumulate small amounts over a long time?

    I swear, if I didn't dislike blogs so much, I'd start one to catalogue all the idiocy. People in and around the videogame industry seem to all have a serious case of overinflated sense of importance and think the tail wags the dog.
  • by lgw ( 121541 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @04:31PM (#15020434) Journal
    Why screw with our suspension of disbelief by correlating real money with game money?

    Because it has already happened, and was inevitable for any successful game. Open market or black market, real money will be able to purchase anything of value. That's what makes it real money.
  • Incredibly stupid. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mattgreen ( 701203 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @04:44PM (#15020558)
    MMOs are always on the cutting edge of materialism it seems.

    In spending *real* money on a credit card, I can apply these benefits toward things that are *not* real? Does anyone actually think this is a good idea? You might as well just not get any benefits from your credit card!

The absent ones are always at fault.