Playing Farmville with American Express? That’ll do nicely.
While you can already buy the virtual currency in Farmville via your American Express card (by buying Facebook credits with the card, and then using these inside the social Facebook game), developers Zynga and Amex have went another step further, with the news that Zynga’s in game currencies are now available to be purchased using the Rewards program of Amex.
Venture Beat carries the news, and includes the important conversion rate: 200 points from the Amex membership scheme will start you off with a $2 gift card to spend on Zynga goods and services.
Is this any different to buying a cinema ticket with your “reward” on your credit card, or super-sizing your coffee at Starbucks for no extra monetary cost to you? Mark Pincus, CEO of Zynga, doesn’t see the difference either, and is firmly of the belief that people are already happy buying ephemeral things.
The low points value means that these will be some of the first items that members of Amex’s rewards program will be able to buy, so the instant gratification of Farmville now gets backed up with the Amex rewards gratification as well.
What would prove interesting is when the relationship goes the other way, and money earned in Farmville by selling the plants and vegetables can be taken out of the game, and back onto a points balance in programs such as Amex’s. By creating a virtuous cycle, Zynga might be able to teach the old dog that is Amex a new trick.