As any Facebook gaming addict knows, nothing in life is free. Very true of third party game apps like Farmville and Mafia Wars. If you want the top items and rewards , it will cost you real cash over game points, and users are willing to pay. Facebook has taken a huge step in capitalizing on this willingness to hand over cash by filing for a trademark for “F”, a new all inclusive gaming gift card for any of over 150 Facebook games you might spend hours and dollars on in between status updates. Facebook has raised the stakes and availability of the gift card market by announcing that the all-game-inclusive F card will be available at Target. 1,750 retail stores and at Target.com will offer these cards, in values of $15, $25 and $50. More major retailers are expected to join in over the next few months.
This online pay to play gift system allows you to spread your money around to all the games you might play. Third party game developers like Zynga have already been offering physical gift cards for their top games in stores like 7-11. Facebook itself has not been offering these cards until now. This marks their first venture into a retail store presence. Similar to iTunes cards, trademarked in 2005 and also carried at Target stores), the F card is being produced by GMG Entertainment, which produces the iTunes cards as well.
The F trademark has been filed under International Class code 9, and is described as: Gift cards; pre-paid gift card services, namely issuing gift card certificates that may be redeemed for goods or services.
This could be a huge haul for Facebook as Mercator Advisory Group reports that prepaid gift card revenue in the USA is expected to reach $86.2 billion this year, compared with $80.6 billion in 2009.
USA Today has quoted Dan Rose, vice president of partnerships and platform marketing at Facebook. saying “We think (the cards) will be incredibly popular as a holiday gift.”
Facebook has launched an official page for the F card which is already “liked “ 1,817,490 users. If even a small percentage of these fans are willing to pony up for these cards, Facebook’s first foray into the brick and mortar market will no doubt be another well played move in monetizing their success without charging membership for their exponentially growing user base.