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Target To Sell Facebook "Credits" As Gift Cards 96

Posted by samzenpus
from the a-bucks-worth-of-farmville dept.
Julie188 writes "Target will begin selling Facebook's virtual currency as gift cards on September 5, becoming the first brick-and-mortar retailer to do so. Facebook Credit gift cards will be available in $15, $25 and $50 denominations at the retailer's 1,750 stores. That's right, you can now spend real dollars to get fake ones so you can buy imaginary items for games like FarmVille, Bejeweled and 150 other FB games or apps. If that interests you, please contact me. I have some swamp land in Florida I'd like to show you."
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Target To Sell Facebook "Credits" As Gift Cards

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  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdo ... org minus author> on Thursday September 02, 2010 @02:50AM (#33446416)

    I have been saving up for new cows [kotaku.com].

  • wrong category (Score:4, Insightful)

    by chichilalescu (1647065) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @02:53AM (#33446434) Homepage Journal

    this is not about rights, it's about games. I remember seeing a lot of discussions about buying stuff for MMOGs and other tonguetwisters with real money.
    facebook users should only be subject to the same amount of ridicule as other gamers.

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @03:33AM (#33446602)

      Their quality is really, really poor. I suspect the only reason they are so popular is people playing them at work. Thus in my mind they, and the people who play them, deserve to take a bit of shit. If you spend a bunch of time at work playing games, when you ought to be doing something productive for most of it (I realize nobody is productive 100% of the time but people fuck around on Facebook too much) well you should catch from crap for that.

      I respect games that are good quality, and I respect that people play them because they are quality entertainment. When you are choosing how to entertain yourself, quality counts. Most of us who work regular jobs only have so much time per day we can goof off. Thus you want to try and choose quality entertainment for those times.

      If these were good games that just happened to be on FB, then ok. However they are crap games that only survive because people play them at work.

      • I am disgusted with the quality of facebook games.
        Not all of us are boring click monkeys. Many of us are vibrant, fun-loving sex maniacs, who remember the good old days, when games were original and provocative.

      • by Bigbutt (65939)

        I block all the Facebook games so I don't see the "I have a cow for you" postings :rolleyes:

        Fortunately work blocks Facebook (and thousands of other sites). We can still get ESPN but we can't get a stable long term connection for large downloads :more rolleyes:

        [John]

      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        The problem is that a lot of people don't have a whole lot to do at work. It's not their fault they company doesn't know how to make full use of their resources. This is how many large companies work. Each person has a small menial task that has to get done. When something comes into their queue, they need to complete the task. And then they are left sitting until another task comes into their queue. You might say the solution is to have less people working, so you can fill up the queue faster, less d
        • by mysidia (191772)

          The problem is that a lot of people don't have a whole lot to do at work. It's not their fault they company doesn't know how to make full use of their resources. This is how many large companies work. Each person has a small menial task that has to get done. When something comes into their queue, they need to complete the task. And then they are left sitting until another task comes into their queue. You might say the solution is to have less people working, so you can fill up the queue faster, less downti

        • I really don't think that's it. The more likely culprit is the fact that it's not enough to just do the task. You have to have meetings about it, endless meetings where each layer of management gets to show how indispensable it is by commenting and quibbling about every detail. You also have to complete documentation and timekeeping tasks, which usually have the sole purpose of giving upper management pretty charts and spreadsheets to look at. With all that, it's a wonder that anything ever gets done.
        • And, people put up with that nonsense? Sometimes, I'm overworked. Most times, I just stay busy. I just can't imagine sitting around with nothing to do while on company time. From time to time, I'll just sit on my butt and WASTE an entire half hour, in addition to my 30 minute lunch break. But, crap - after wasting that much time, I HAVE TO GET UP and find something to do. Tear something down to see what makes it tick, if nothing else. (hey now - this thing isn't SUPPOSED to tick!! TAKE COVER!!)
      • by mysidia (191772)

        I don't doubt some of these games get played at work by some people.

        But I would suggest the reason they are popular, as opposed to say random flash games out on the web, is instead because they are on a popular social networking website. And some of them have social elements where friends are encouraged to invite friends, and "help each other"

        Just enough people have to be exposed to it and get addicted...

    • by delinear (991444)
      Indeed - Microsoft have had a system of "points" on their Live platform for years now, and for almost as long it's been possible to walk into a store, pay real money for a card with a scratch-off panel and use them to attain points which are spent on "imaginary items" like games, avatar accessories, desktop themes and such, and it was hardly the first system to do this (just one of the early ones to allow you to use the points across a range of games and purchase types under their umbrella platform). The "s
  • They already do... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Manip (656104) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @02:55AM (#33446440)
    Target already sell Farmville and Mafia Wars credit in individual cards and have for almost a year. The only difference here is that it is a general Facebook card so you can use it across all of the games (and Facebook get a much bigger cut). I don't play these games but I find it funny how hypocritical most gamers are about them, it is fine if you buy DLC for that retail game you spent 50 hours playing, but if someone buys virtual credit to buy DLC in Farmville they're just insane!

    It is obviously just a lame bias against games that are Flash based (instead of C++) and have minimalistic graphics (like every game had fifteen years ago?).
    • by KenRH (265139)

      There is a difference between buying extra content for a game, and buying Items to give you a head start you could achieve by playing.

      As games are for your own entertainment I am not implying one is better or worse than the other but it is different.

      • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

        by piraat (1772234)
        I want to imply one is worse then the other. I friggin' hate it when i play some online game, put some time in it, do well, and then get destroyed by some kid who bought all kinds of extra items. I don know many games on facebook, but the ones i do know give people who do not pay such a disadvantage, it's not funny anymore. It's even worse when the things you can buy with real money change after a few months. Giving the people with online money a bigger advantage.
      • by subanark (937286)
        One system that might make "ethical" sense when allowing the use of real currency to purchase items in game you can get though playing instead, is that the game is "grindware" where you can get many of the features of the game by doing less enjoyable activities to earn the right to sample the content you could purchase.

        For example:
        Lets say I make a game that is a collection of roguelike dungeons. Each one has different features and are short with various levels of difficulty.
        Now, for free I put the basic du
    • Frankly, i don't get it, if i've paid for the game i expect to have full functionality out of the box, paying afterwards for DLC is something i don't do. As for those FB games, do people actually enjoy those things? I tried a few of those in the past, and found them to be as amusing as a lobotomy.

      Maybe it's nostalgia talking, but the average game 15 years ago were a lot more fun then the average game i see coming out these days, sure, the graphics of current games blow those old titles away, but i prefer
      • by dangitman (862676) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @04:01AM (#33446744)

        Frankly, i don't get it, if i've paid for the game i expect to have full functionality out of the box, paying afterwards for DLC is something i don't do.

        You do get full functionality out of the box (at least for the games with DLC that I've seen). If you buy something like Fallout 3, it is a fully functional, self-contained game. The game doesn't stop working when they release DLC, and you are not compelled to buy DLC. It's simply additional content.

        Having said that, this Facebook stuff and buying in-game items or currency is quite a different beast.

        • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

          by Locke2005 (849178)
          You either pay for the DLC, or you get your ass handed to you on a platter by the people that have payed for the DLC, but either way, it's your choice!
          • by dangitman (862676)

            You either pay for the DLC, or you get your ass handed to you on a platter by the people that have payed for the DLC, but either way, it's your choice!

            Did you even bother to read my post? In the games I was talking about, the existence of DLC has no effect on your performance in the game.

      • by delinear (991444)
        Huh? You're comparing the graphics of "current" games to old titles by comparing Half Life to Puzzle Bobble? You do realise that Half Life was release over a decade ago? (In fact only four years atfer the arcade version of Puzzle Bobble).
        • I didn't have my coffee yet, Half Life got stuck into my memory because of Black Mesa (read about that yesterday evening), and Puzzle Bobble because that's what i was playing on the train to work.

          I actually meant Bubble Bobble [mobygames.com] from way, way back, feel free to replace Half Life with something else more recent, the chances of picking a recent game i'd actually like are slim :P
  • by Custard (45810) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @03:03AM (#33446468)

    I heard that people are selling these things called "movie tickets" that grant the bearer the right to sit in the dark with a bunch of strangers.

    If that interests you, please contact me. I have some swamp land in Florida I'd like to show you.

    • by creat3d (1489345)
      I heard that people sometimes compare these things called "apples" to those other things called "oranges". If that interests you, please try harder next time.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        He's just trying to point out the idiocy in the summary: People who buy swamp land are conned -- they don't actually get what they think they're getting. The people who buy items in FB games get exactly what they want -- the poster doesn't seem to respect it but who cares what he thinks? There's no point in comparing these two or even implying that these would be the same people.

        • by plover (150551) *

          People who buy swamp land are conned -- they don't actually get what they think they're getting.

          In reality, Disney conned the people around Orlando when they originally bought the swamp land. By having middlemen do the purchasing, and not announcing they were building a giant theme park, they were able to buy up miles of swamp land for about one percent of the price they would have had to pay if they had announced they were buying it all to build Disneyworld.

          I believe the original poster should have used a different analogy, such as "I have a bridge I would like to sell you." At the dawn of the 20th

          • by mattack2 (1165421)

            In reality, Disney conned the people around Orlando when they originally bought the swamp land. By having middlemen do the purchasing, and not announcing they were building a giant theme park, they were able to buy up miles of swamp land for about one percent of the price they would have had to pay if they had announced they were buying it all to build Disneyworld.

            How is that conning anyone? Sounds like a sound business (or personal) practice. Why pay more than you have to for any specific item you want?

        • by jeffmeden (135043)

          Aren't half the condos in Naples built on reclaimed swamp land? Probably more than half by now...

          I doubt the people who bought that land are crying themselves to sleep at night. Just saying.

  • by MindlessAutomata (1282944) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @03:04AM (#33446478)

    I, personally, feel that this is the very acme of human civilization. It's all downhill from here. We have achieved out existential duty, fulfilled the will of the universe in bringing about Facebook Credit Gift Cards. This is the Great Will of the Cosmos.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by clsours (1089711)
      Achievement Unlocked: "Its All Downhill From Here"
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by dangitman (862676)

      I, personally, feel that this is the very acme of human civilization. It's all downhill from here.

      That's exactly what they said when the film Ishtar was released.

      • by tsm_sf (545316)
        I saw that in the theater. For those of you fortunate enough to have missed it, it is every bit as bad as advertised. It's the worst movie I've ever seen.
  • by PaganRitual (551879) <splaga@@@internode...on...net> on Thursday September 02, 2010 @03:14AM (#33446512)

    Opening admission: I'm coerced into playing Farmville and Fronterville by my Mother and a couple of friends who want me to send them gifts and occasionally do crap on their farms. Also, I willingly play the D&D Adventures FB game, and I've tried the 'just barely a game' type stuff like Mafia Wars.

    To my knowledge, all the Facebook games are free. Lets assume that Farmville was an 'indie' game. If the game provides you with some level of enjoyment, how is dropping $15 once off for some extra game content any different from paying $15 for some indie game that you might play for a week or two on and off before finishing it or being done with it. I suppose once you start to spend a substantial amount of money it's a different issue, but then that's not specific to Facebook games. It does make me wonder if anyone I know has spent money on these games, I must admit.

    Is the fact that the goods are 'virtual' such an issue? This will start an argument, but how tangible are any of the mp3s that you purchase from say, iTunes, or books via Kindle? Yes, it's an mp3 or a glorified text file, that provides entertainment, or whatever you want to define it as, but it's still entertainment in virtual form. Really, how different is it to purchasing goods for some subjectively entertaining virtual farm; at the end of the day is it still not simply entertainment in an intangible form? How is this not just a digital way of buying extra dolls for a dollhouse or some other real world to virtual comparison that might have not implied that I own dolls?

    Each to their own, seriously.

    Also, you can walk in and touch swampland in Florida. That's way more effort than dragging some fences and cows into a virtual lot on my PC. It's a totally different market ;)

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      It really is a matter of semantics.

      I personally think people who spend all of their time playing World of Warcraft need to get a life - this being compounded by monthly fees - but they enjoy it so what's the harm?

      Better than car-jacking and/or popping caps in innocent bystanders' collective asses.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by ZaSz-RH (923115)

        There was a criminology teacher that wanted to create a program that gives free XBoxes to low revenue families, so that they play XBox instead of wandering outside looking for not that good things to do.
        Seemed like a good idea to me.

    • by noidentity (188756) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @05:10AM (#33446992)
      I'll stick with Codeville, where one spends enormous amounts of time writing code. Costs almost no money, and the virtual goods work quite well in the real world. Also highly addictive (hmmm, who should I sue for it being too addictive? K&R?).
    • by m50d (797211)
      Buying extra content - new levels and the like - makes sense. Buying virtual stuff rather than "earning" it through the mechanism of the game - skipping some of the game, really - is like using cheat codes in a previous generation of games: lame. Only you also pay for the privilege.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by delinear (991444)
        Even then I don't think it's so clear cut. If it's a case of buying stuff that's obtainable by playing the game normally, that's wholly different to buying stuff that requires endless grinding. A lot of people are cash rich and time poor, I wouldn't give up my job so I could grind in my favourite game, but if I could divert some of the proceeds of one to the other I might consider it, if it lets me get on with enjoying the parts of the game that are not so time intensive. Imagine a quest in a game that take
    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      I... occasionally do crap on their farms. Well, I guess it's good fertilizer, but it does seem a bit rude.
  • by clsours (1089711) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @03:27AM (#33446570)
    Most (almost all) FB games are not actually games. They are a series of clicks with no challenge, no particular set of strategy, no real difference between levels. There exist no actual gameplay elements. I say this as someone who has played everything from MMOGs to NetHack clones to Text-Based Adventures (Zork and the like) to Flash style games (N - Way of the Ninja) to artsy games (Braid) to Triple-A shooters (Halo 3) and more (a tribute to a life well spent).

    If Facebook games offered some gameplay (which some do, ie Bejewelled, Desktop Defender) and not just a blatant and sickening attempt to grab eyeballs and personal information, it would be harder for me to hate them and their creators.
  • I stopped at my local 7-Eleven two nights ago and noticed that some items have small prize stickers on them. Lo and behold, the prize stickers are for items in Facebook games. I don't know what range of games the stickers apply to, but I did receive a prize for Farmville and another prize for Mafia Wars.

    I think I'll save these for my nieces and nephews as gifts for Christmas.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by dangitman (862676)

      I think I'll save these for my nieces and nephews as gifts for Christmas.

      You shouldn't admit to child-abuse in public.

  • Gaia Online has sold "Gaia Cash" cards at Target for nearly three years now - which are used exclusively to buy low-res pixel items for your low-res avatar, for up tp $10 (1000 Gaia Cash) an item. The Facebook games seem like a good deal in comparison. http://www.gaiaonline.com/forum/featured-announcements/gaia-cash-cards-at-target-stores/t.33551403/ [gaiaonline.com]
  • Wait, what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Alarindris (1253418) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @04:14AM (#33446792)
    Isn't this the same as buying tokens to play arcade games? The currency isn't "fake", it still has value.
    • by Abstrackt (609015)

      Isn't this the same as buying tokens to play arcade games? The currency isn't "fake", it still has value.

      Yes, it is the same as buying tokens to play arcade games and no, the "currency" is actually fake. You can't buy goods (I use the term loosely here) or services with arcade tokens or farmville credits outside their respective mediums, currency can be used anywhere in the country.

  • by DavidD_CA (750156) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @04:57AM (#33446936) Homepage

    How is this any different from all of the games (PS3, X-Box, and PC) that let you use real dollars to purchase avatars, skins, and other in-game add-ons?

    I'm also fairly sure that some simulation games let you put real money in for game money, though their names don't come to mind.

    So the only news here is that Target is becoming a middle-man. Oh, and we get to ridicule FarmVille.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by tttonyyy (726776)

      Spot on. And for those that haven't seen the Farmville parody ad, here it is:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odBDAcOEKuI [youtube.com]

      Its only funny because its true...

    • by natehoy (1608657)

      Or, if we're being honest, buying players in Fantasy Football, which many people around me spend good money to "buy" a team whilst simultaneously laughing their asses off at Facebook gamers?

      You're buying entertainment. Facebook games are not my chosen form of entertainment. Neither is fantasy football. Neither is cable television. Nor NASCAR or any form of televised sport. And I could just as easily laugh at the person who spends $20/month to buy premium sports or movies channels as I could someone who

  • You don't seem to understand the concept of a gift card. They have always been fake dollars.

    • by delinear (991444)
      Not to mention that the notes we now consider "real money" began life in exactly the same way - they relied on someone giving something of established value to a banker or such in return for a token promising [wikipedia.org] to pay the bearer an equal value. I'm sure back then they were equally ridiculed, "Look, Jebediah is giving up a real cow in return for a note saying he is oweth'd a cow! Methinks I have some Floridian swampland he may wish to barter items of worth for!"
  • by Anonymous Coward

    My company has had some real problems with absenteeism due to Farmville and other social networking applications. When we blocked them at our firewall, we saw a mysterious rise in people electing to "work at home," and others taking long lunches and even going so far as to bring in their personal laptops with a cellular modem (not realizing that the point of blocking them was not necessarily network security).

    We even had to let some people go a while back when we sent them to a client site and the (angry) c

  • Florida swampland is real property. I grow cypress trees and blueberries on mine! (As well as pine, turkey, deer, wild pigs...)

    A closer comparison would be "I have a star to sell you," but even that, at some level, involves a real, physical thing.

    "I have some beach-front property in Atlantis you might be interested in."

  • This is no different than spending money on movies or booze or enjoyment in general. What do you get when you pay $15 to go see a movie? Typically sticky shoes and the memory of a lousy movie. What do you get when you buy a $15 bottle of booze? Frequent trips to the bathroom?

    It's all about what you find enjoyable. Spend money on entertainment any way you wish, IMO. It all costs real money, and is worth what you feel it to be worth.

  • it's not backed by anything.

    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      Paper money is backed by "The full faith and credit of the US government." It may not be much, but it is backed by something!
  • Until Target stops dumping huge sums of money into the coffers of rabidly anti-gay politicians like Tom Emmer ($150,000), I won't be shopping there, assuming that I'd have a need for virtual merchandise, which I do not.
  • I seem to remember hearing of this one guy who bought up a bunch of swamp land in Florida and made a butt load of money... Count me in!!

    • by neminem (561346)
      Yeah... just need to buy swamp lands that's sufficiently close to Disney World for next time they feel like expanding, right?
  • And yes, seeing the ability to buy Farmville and Mafia Wars things in the real world was dreadfully disturbing.

  • I'm surprised SusanExpress didn't get in on this action first.

  • It's just adequately irrigated, endowed with sufficient moisture, doesn't require over-watering of your roses...
  • I have 30 godfather points and I need new jeans. :-P
    • sounds like the gold-seller side of the equation.
      Do Facebook games allow transfer mechanisms like those used by the MMORPG gold-sellers?

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