Reps from Zynga announce that they’ll be conducting a Bitcoin trial for many of the company’s popular Free-to-Play games, but not its Texas Hold’em Poker app.
Since being introduced in 2009, Bitcoin has become one of the most hotly debated topics in cyberspace. A type of virtual currency that can be used to make purchases on Bitcoin-driven sites, the controversial product recently won a landmark victory when it was approved by the U.S Senate as a viable form of currency. However, other countries have not taken as kindly to the new currency, China included.
Early purchasers of Bitcoin were able to reap significant returns on their initial investment, prompting many to wonder how they too could cash in on this hot commodity. And now Zynga, coming off a horrific 2013 in which it lost millions of active users, has announced that it will be allowing players to make in-game purchases with Bitcoin, if only on a trial basis.
Popular Zynga products such as FarmVille 2, Hidden Chronicles and CityVille will support Bitcoin purchases. Noticeably absent from Zynga’s announcement was the inclusion of its poker application, Texas Hold’em Poker.
This comes mere months after Zynga announced that it would not be pursuing real-money gaming in the United States. Early last-year Zynga made its real-money poker platform, Zynga Plus Poker, available to its UK-based customers. A skin on PartyPoker.com, Zynga Plus Poker did not attract the swarms of players it originally hoped for, and plans to expand into US territories were quickly abandoned. In fact, Zynga Plus Poker performed so poorly that PartyPoker.com slipped into fourth place in overall poker traffic.
Since then, Zynga has refocused its efforts on its F2P games, but does plan on revisiting the social real-money gaming landscape once its user-base has stabilized.
Zynga has partnered with BitPay, a BitCoin payment processor with big plans of its own. Beta testers have confirmed that BitPay operates smooth and efficiently, placing the company in a great position to become the
Paypal of the Bitcoin world.
It’s expected that poker rooms will watch the Zynga trial with attentiveness, as will professional poker players.
So why would the poker community take interest in a Zynga trial? First off, Bitcoin presents several opportunities for poker players to potentially increase their ROI. By gaining an understanding of the market, poker players may be able to sell virtual currency at a higher exchange than it was purchased – something not possible using traditional deposit and withdrawal methods.
Furthermore, Bitcoin-driven sites do not require a payment processor. Bitcoin also allows players to transfer money between Bitcoin-driven sites, dramatically increasing transaction speed.
And let’s not forget that Bitcoin is a universal currency, unlike the dollar or euro.
Thus it stands to reason that the Internet gaming world would take a keen interest in this new form of currency, if only because of its potential upside. Whether it eventually becomes a staple of online poker is anyone’s guess.