Virtual money is big business, and with Facebook planning to get in on the act this year, it was only a matter of time before other companies followed suit. The company, Offerpal, has launched in direct competition with Facebook and plans to let customers earn credit for use in online games when they shop at certain retailers, complete surveys or convert gift cards.
The idea for Offerpal is to make virtual cash on social networks easier to manage; in other words to simplify virtual money by making available a common currency that could be used to buy goods on different platforms and even exchanged between apps.
And this range across platforms is the key. Gamers will be able to earn Offerpal’s Game Points virtual currency in more than 1500 online games and social apps, something that will come in handy for users. During Offerpal's beta launch, 'Game Points' can only be spent in gaming applications on Facebook. However other social networking sites such as MySpace, Bebo, Hi5 as well as standalone NMMO and virtual world sites will be added over time, making up the 1500.
Offerpal already has an association within the market and an added advantage of already dabbling in 'offers'; something that is already a proven success on Facebook games, where new sign ups get virtual currency to spend.
Offerpal verses Facebook
But Offerpal won't have the micro-payments market to themselves, as Facebook are launching Facebook Credits as early as June making for an interesting battle between the two.
And explore the revenues available, it becomes clear why both companies want to get a piece of the pie. Virtual currency has become big business; a massive market at an estimated $7 million worldwide. Yet despite such a vast market, users of virtual currencies have so far had no central platform with which they can accumulate, manage, and spend the various currencies online.
The beauty of Offerpal Game Points system allows a transparent cross platform currency management. On top of creating a sort of 'World Bank' for online gamers, Game Points throws incentives and rewards into the mix.
George Garrick, CEO, Offerpal Media, says: "We launched GamePoints.com to empower online gamers with ways to earn virtual currency for free rather than having to pay for it, and to give them the choice of spending that currency wherever they'd like within our vast network."
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