Gaming company Zynga has announced it will test accepting payments via Bitcoin. It’s arguably the most mainstream seller yet to accept the digital currency.
The BBC notes the move follows both open-source games console maker Ouya and independent game seller Humble Bundle accepting the virtual money last year.
Zynga is running the test through BitPay, a company that specializes in providing services for websites to accept the payment. The payments are only available to people buying games through Zynga itself rather than platforms such as Facebook. It will work for purchase in CastleVille, ChefVille, CityVille, CoatserVille, FarmVille 2, Hidden Chronicles and Hidden Shadows.
It’s not yet clear whether the pricing in Bitcoin will be fixed or will change in line with the fluctuating value of Bitcoins against more conventional currencies. Of course, there’s less risk to Zynga in potentially having an unpredictable dollar-value revenue from each transaction given it is selling a virtual product with relatively little inherent value or production cost.
However, while the type of micropayments that make up Zynga’s business certainly lend themselves to payments by virtual currencies with little or no transaction fees, it seems fair to say there’s not much crossover between the stereotypical FarmVille player and the type of web user who is comfortable with systems such as Bitcoins.
Not all the news this week is good for fans of Bitcoin however. Financial regulators in Taiwan have blocked plans to install Bitcoin ATMs in the country. (The machines let you insert cash and add funds to a Bitcoin account, or withdraw funds as cash.)
Meanwhile a lawyer acting for Bitcoin traders in India has said that while using the virtual currency as a form of investment is not inherently illegal, it is far too volatile for casual investors to risk their own cash.