One of the ways that Facebook engages users in “social” activity is through the use of games. These games range from the relatively simple, like SuperPoke, which allows users to virtually nudge their friends by sending them icons of cute farm animals, to Farmville, a game in which users work together to build farms, plant crops, and collect a bountiful harvest. However, Facebook games are not all fun and, well, games. In the article, “Virtual Farm Games Absorb Real Money, Real Lives,” Josh Lowensohn writes,
“The game can be played for free, but players can get an edge by paying. Farm cash and farm coins can be purchased for anywhere from $1 to $50 in real money via credit card, PayPal, and Facebook’s Credits currency platform. With the virtual money, people can accelerate play or purchase goods that otherwise would take longer to acquire. It’s only for the most involved, though.”
Typically online activities and game are critiqued on the basis of the time spent doing them. The addition of money to the mix means that online game play may come under increased scrutiny since money is a more concrete resource, the spending of which is seen as a marker of a more serious involvement.
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