Zynga is currently testing a partnership with BitPay, which enables the game platform to accept Bitcoin payments for making in-game purchases.
Zynga, which develops and runs social games will now accept Bitcoin as a payment method for in-game items for its popular online game titles FarmVille 2, CastleVille, ChefVille, CoasterVille, Hidden Chronicles, Hidden Shadows and CityVille. This is yet another achievement for the crypto-currency, which has gained acceptance (and notoriety) for its de-centralized approach to virtual money.
Zynga’s acceptance of Bitcoin is done in partnership with payment processor BitPay, which is one of the biggest Bitcoin payment processors. The company reports to have processed at least $100 million in Bitcoin payments in 2013, and looks toward bigger business this year after several rounds of funding this year.
BitPay wants to be the “PayPal of the Bitcoin world,” in reference to how PayPal has emerged as the de facto online payment processing service for the past decade or so. According to TechCrunch, one of the main advantages of accepting Bitcoin payments is the lower transaction fees associated with the crpyto-currency. This way, Zynga stands to improve its revenue, having reduced its payment processing overhead.
With last year’s news of Bitcoin’s involvement in the “deep web” services like Silk Road, the virtual currency has gained notoriety as being part of underground and black market culture. Bitcoin is gaining mainstream acceptance, however, now being accepted as a mode of payment by certain educational institutions. Some financial firms have also launched Bitcoin ATM machines.
Still, the purely digital currency is not yet offered as a payment method by gaming companies, except for some gambling sites, where Bitcoin seems to have found its niche. In fact, a few BTC millionaires have been minted from dice-based games like Just-Dice. Other casino gaming services like 888casino are reportedly planning to accept Bitcoins starting this year. As for Zynga, however, there is no word whether it plans to extend Bitcoin payments to its other game titles (apart from the ones listed above), as well as its own real-money online gambling services like Zynga Poker.
Right now, Zynga is focusing on improving its bottom line. Once a rising star of the digital gaming world with social games that have grown popular on Facebook, the gaming company has fallen on hard times and is now attempting to cut costs while increasing revenues. Its efforts in supporting Bitcoin might just be one way through which Zynga can revitalize its gaming platform.