Zynga's Platinum Purchase Program does high-profile, underground transactions
While we know Zynga has made some pretty inflammatory comments before in reference to its game design, we've seldom heard the company behind social game giant FarmVille say much of anything about addiction. Maybe this is because they'd rather not be seen as hypocritical when the company was recently discovered running a hushed transaction program known as the Platinum Purchase Program.
The program is only dealt with via e-mail and the minimum purchase price is $500 via wire-transfer only. Buying directly nets purchasers more bonus points to buy items in their games. Since Zynga doesn't mention this secret program on its website or in any Zynga game, these high-profile purchasers are rewarded extra points for referring friends to the program. This spreads the word among the those who are hooked on the program with less chance of this underground program being exposed.
Information on the program is seldom online, except a few blog posts from a writer known as Loot Lady, who mentions the trouble she had finding the program. She also includes an e-mail she sent referring to program with an official response from Zynga customer service. It makes sense: why would Zynga admit to enabling addicts with surprisingly shallow pockets like the unemployed disabled man that the New York Times recently spoke with?
The program lends itself to those who are addicted to their games by allowing them to purchase points in mass quantities without the purchases showing up on their credit history. Knowing the destructively addictive effect that other social games can have on players, we cannot imagine how much revenue Zynga is bringing in behind the scenes (until now).
UPDATE: A reader, Sarah, got in touch with Zynga about the Platinum Program and received the following email back:
What do you think of this Platinum Purchase Program? Is this a way to encourage non-US players to spend money or is this more sinister -- fueling social game addiction? Let us know what you think in the comments below. Add comment.